What matters most in your life and in the life of your family? This is an essential question to ask yourself as you build a healthy life and a healthy family! How does God want us to answer this question? We get some clear direction in Deuteronomy 6:4-5: 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5. How do I focus on what matters most?
1) Pay close attention and act on what the LORD teaches! 4 Hear, O Israel: Deuteronomy 6:4a. This word “hear”, translated shema in Hebrew, actually means to “listen, pay attention, focus”; but it also mean to “act on” what is said. In fact, there is not a word in Hebrew for “obey” because it is expected that when instruction is given, obedience follows. This is an important principal to teach and practice in our homes and in our faith journey! Are you paying attention to what God teaches and obeying Him? (Exodus 19:5; Matthew 7:24).
2) Make my relationship with the LORD top priority in my life and for my family. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Deuteronomy 6:4. In Old Testament times, there were plenty of nations that had many gods. In fact, the Egyptians, who had held the Israelites captives for hundreds of years were notoriously polytheistic. They had a god for everything under the sun, including the sun! God wanted Moses to make clear to the Israelites that He alone was the one true God.
God wants top priority in our lives and in the life of our family. Nothing matters more. The first four commands in the Ten Commandments make this very clear for us. (Exodus 20:3-8). The first command is clear: 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3. Some questions to consider related to these commands: Is there anything in your life or in the life of your family that comes before God? Do your children know God is first in your life; that you value nothing above Him? Do you honor Him with your words; do you set aside a day each week to honor and worship Him?
3) Love the LORD without conditions! 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5. How does God want us to love Him? The same way He loves us! So how does God love us? His love for us in Hebrew is avahah which means affectionate and active.
God’s love is not deserved or earned, but rather, it is freely offered. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8a) God loves because that is who He is. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Jeremiah 31:3a. In other words, God’s love for you is, and has always been, and will always be. You may feel unlovable or unloved, but know that God loves you with an everlasting love! God’s love is also an action. He shows His love for us by what He does. (Deuteronomy 4:37).
God calls us to love Him in the way He loves us. (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). In fact, the love we show others reveals our love for God. 18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18. (Matthew 22:37-40).
How much does God want us to love Him and others?
- Love God with all my heart. Deuteronomy 6:5a. The heart is where we make choices motivated by our desires. This is why the Bible tells us: 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23. What if your heart’s desires do not honor God? Pray this prayer: 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
- Love God with all my soul. Deuteronomy 6:5b. The word for soul here doesn’t mean a spiritual body; in Hebrew, it means a physical body. So the idea is to love God with all my physical being! No holds barred. (Psalm 42:1-2a; Psalm 119:175). Do you love God with all your being?
- Love God with all my strength. Deuteronomy 6:5c. This word strength in Hebrew actually doesn’t have anything to do with physical strength. It actually means “much” or “very”. To love God with all your strength is to love Him very, very much! That is why Jesus said: 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30
When you live out these clear directives in your life and in the life of your family, you are focusing on what matters most! For much more, click here listen to Building a Healthy Home - Part 2 - Focus on What Matters Most.