God First, Is God Really Serious? 

In our study, we look at God's call on our lives and examine what His word says about the order of different things in our lives. It is easy to let "good things" become more and more important to us but we must be sure to evaluate each and every thing according to God's word and His priorities. That is our hope in doing this study.

The study was inspired by Matthew 10:37: "'Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;'" NIV translation

Those are the words of Jesus and they are also in Luke 14. We may be quick to ask ourselves if God really means this and what He means by it. To get the answers, we must look at the rest of the Bible as well.

In Exodus 20, God gave His people the Ten Commandments and He said that they were not to make any idols or have any other gods before Him. God went on to give the reason for this which is that He is a jealous God. We may ask ourselves why God can be jealous and the answer is found in one of the Hebrew names for God. El Elyon (God Most High) is a name of God that reminds us of the fact that there is nothing like God because He created all things. So, since there is nothing like God, any attempt to elevate any created thing to a position equal with God is idolatry and that is what the first two Commandments are about.

At a glance, we may tell ourselves that God is not talking about people in that passage and that He is talking about worshiping material things. The simple fact of the matter is that we can elevate the thoughts and feelings of others (even family) to a position where we do not obey God. That is idolatry even though it is not a statue.

We can see an example of how people can become idols in 1 Kings 11 and the story of Solomon. Solomon had it all wisdom, wealth, and honor from God but he loved foreign women and put that above the instructions of God. God told the Israelites when they entered the promised land to not marry certain groups of women. Solomon did anyway and, because of that, his son lost most of his father's kingdom.

It is easy for us to tell ourselves that the Ten Commandments are from the Old testament and we are in New Testament times but God did not change with the times. We can see some very clear examples of this through the words of Jesus himself.

In Matthew 19 and Luke 18 (two witnesses), we see what happens when a rich young man puts things above obedience to God. The man had kept the commandments but, when asked (by Jesus) to give his possessions to the poor he could not. We also see, in Luke 12, the story (parable) that Jesus told about a rich man and his foolishness. The man was blessed and had more than his barn would hold. Instead of sharing his blessing, he chose to build bigger barns to contain it but, in the end, his life was demanded of him and he did not even get to enjoy his wealth. We see other examples in Luke 9 and Matthew 8 where Jesus described the cost of following Him. Not only did Jesus say that it involved giving up a home but even going as far as to not bury your own father. We can also see, in Luke 8:19-21, who Jesus described as being His family. It was not those who had had the same blood running through their veins. It was those who listened and obeyed the very Word of God.

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