“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3 NIV)
The first commandment calls you to a life-long response of gratitude and loving loyalty to the God who loved you and gave himself for you.
Positively, this means cultivating affection for him: Remembering him, appreciating him, honoring him, choosing him, loving him, desiring him, and fearing him. It means trusting him, hoping in him, and delighting in him. It means calling upon him and giving thanks to him.
Loyalty to God means giving him more weight in your life and in your decisions than to any other. If you face a decision where every inclination of your heart says ‘no,’ and yet to honor God you would have to say ‘yes,’ then you would say ‘yes.’ Why? Because God carries more weight than every inclination of your heart.
The starting point, negatively, is to identify all sins that break the first commandment by displacing God, and then to turn from them. He is displaced by pride and infatuation. He is displaced when we allow others to bind our conscience, or when we consult the devil, mediums, or fortune tellers. Superstition, impatience with God, and complaining about God’s providence are all attempts to displace him. So are all forms of unbelief, distrust, and despair.
How can you despair if the Lord is your God? Despair always means that there is something else that you want and you have decided that you won’t get it (and this thing has become more important than God).
This command is liberating! It will deliver you from infatuation and from the control of an overbearing parent, a manipulating pastor, or a dominating friend may have over you. You shall have no other gods before me!
What do you need this command to liberate you from?