Loving the Lord First

deut6_5There are many who are not shy about their love of their religious tradition or particular method of devotion.  When discussing God or religion, they will sometimes say something like, “I was born into a particular tradition,  raised in it, and will die in it.”  However, there are few who demonstrate that it is the Lord Himself they love first and foremost (along with furthering His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven).

It’s all about loving Him. 

Tradition can be wonderful, but we are commanded to love the Lord first and foremost.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” – Deut. 6:4-5
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” – John 14:15

As Jesus states in John 14:15, the measure of our love for God Himself is our obedience to His word and ways.  Our tradition must never be exalted above or at the expense of God’s word or His ways.  To state differently, our tradition must always be subject to the Word of God and our love for Him, demonstrated by our obedience to His ways.  Otherwise we are in danger of falling into the trap of nullifying God’s word by our tradition (read Matthew 15:6).

As someone who was born into and raised up in a religious tradition, I realize how troubling a notion this is.  But we deceive ourselves if we think that we can enter God’s Kingdom on our own terms by loving our tradition more than we love Him.  There’s nothing wrong with tradition necessarily, but God is looking for worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit (all their heart, soul, mind and strength) and in truth. (John 4:24)

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