“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30 HCSB)
One way your love for Christ declines or grows cold is that you begin to love someone or something more than you should. His first and greatest command to you is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, HCSB). When anything distracts you from this first and wholehearted love for Christ, you need to return to your first love.
In Ezekiel 14 God said Israel’s elders had set up idols in their hearts. Idolatry is not just worshiping a false god or an image of one. When you allow your love to be drawn away to other things so your love for Christ decreases, you are practicing idolatry. This idol in your heart can be a person, a thing, or an activity. Today I want you to examine yourself to learn whether you have any heart idols you need to put away. Consecrate yourself by removing the idols and renewing your love for Christ.
❍ Read the following Scriptures and underline the words or phrases that describe things you can love so much that they distract you from your first love for the Lord. I’ve underlined one for you.
“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15, HCSB).
“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (Matthew 6:24, HCSB).
❍ Prayerfully read the following list of things that can become idols in your heart. Identify anything you have grown to love so much that it is distracting you from a wholehearted love for Christ.
□ career □ money □ hobbies □ shopping □ television □ power □ influence □ club or organization □ travel □ drugs/alcohol □ gambling □ entertainment □ another person □ the world and things of the world □ sports or sporting events □ Other: _______________________
❋ PRAY And confess your idolatry to God. Grieve over the fact that you have offended the One who loves you so much that He died for you.
❋ PRAY And put away the false gods and return to your first love—Jesus Christ.