For forty years I stood, sat, sang and prayed in churches throughout the country. I currently serve in the military, thus the reason for being in all those churches. Outside of my home church, an average size non-denominational church in Kill Devil Hills, NC (interestingly named town huh?!), I have only spent time in churches for a few years at a time before transferring to a new location and new church. For all of those forty years I had knowledge of God, but I can confidently say He was never the Lord of my life until December of 2021. It’s not that I resent those forty years, because I am thankful for the seeds planted in my life during that time that helped me to make a real, change of heart decision in the past few months. Regardless though, I knew God was/is/and always will be God. What I didn’t have though, was a heart to pursue Him in every aspect of my life.
One of the most well-known verses from the book of Revelation is found in chapter 3, verse 16, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” The Lord our God has no desire to compete with the rest of our lives, desires, relationships, friends, etc for attention and adoration. In Revelation 3:16, we clearly see a jealous God, and a God who’s first commandment to His chosen people is, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3).
It is not merely enough to know God. We must make him our one and only God. There’s no room for anything halfway. When I was a young adult in college, during the summers I worked for my father in the construction business. I remember once I tried to cut corners. He cut my pay until he decided that I had learned a lesson that it’s better to do a job fully, completely and competently rather than cut corners. That was a tough lesson to learn as I was just beginning to get into financial responsibility and paying bills. It was necessary though, and has stuck with me for the rest of my life. God is the same way. He desires our full attention, first and foremost. He wants us to do more than know Him. He wants us to continually seek Him, love Him, and honor Him.
In my opinion, there is a very valid and significant reason that the first five of the Ten Commandments are about Him, and not us. There’s a reason God requires the FIRST ten percent of our earnings, before we give to ourselves, we should have our hearts and minds giving to God. This is something I’ve had a significant heart change about recently. I used to despise the idea of tithing, and purposely avoided it at all costs (pun intended). Now though, wanting to seek him with all my heart and being, I feel like my eyes have been open to more meanings and purposes for why God through His word requires various things. As a kid, my parents, teachers, and coaches would often require me to do various things. All those small steps were parts of bigger purpose and growth. Christ knows us fully, beyond even our own comprehension. He has purpose for us. He loves us.
In the same way God has purpose and love for us. He wants us to see His purpose, believe in, and love Him. There’s so much beyond that too! It causes our hearts to develop faith in Christ, and a desire to do good and holy things in His name. In James 2:19 it says, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”. Knowledge that God is God is not enough. We must press into Him, believe in Him as our Savior, and follow Him. That is where the heart becomes changed and true freedom begins.