If there is one thing that is clear throughout the entire Bible, it is the truth that we are called to singular devotion to God, and to His Son, Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament it is written: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) It is also written: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
In the New Testament the Lord Jesus elaborates on this call to devotion very clearly. His words could not be more specific. “If anyone come to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)
There is a stark contrast between love and hate in these verses. The Lord does not want us to have a malicious attitude towards our father or mother or other family members. Nothing is dearer to us in life than these relationships. What does He mean? He simply desires our loyalty. It must be to Him first. He comes before the closest earthly ties.
Why? “It is GOD who hath made us and not we ourselves.” (Psalm 100:3) He created us and sustains us. Not only did He create us, He redeemed us: “For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, every tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) Christ purchased us by His blood.
The call is very clear, no object, nor any person, even the most dear, is to have the place in our hearts that God claims as His own. Claire-Lise de Benoit put it so eloquently:
“All is in Christ;
Your whole self present to Him.
Vain your quest for lasting pleasure,
Wealth, success, and worldly fame;
Christ alone must be your treasure,
His resources your only claim.
Come, let Him disperse the famine
Of your arid, waste existence,
Let God’s Son, th’Immortal King,
Freely give you everything.”
Listen: “All is in Christ”
When Christ revealed Himself for the third time after His resurrection it was to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. After breakfast the Lord addressed Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these (the other disciples)?” (John 21:15) The Lord knew that Peter had a genuine camaraderie with his fellow disciples and his love for them was very great. He wanted Peter’s loyalty to be to Him first, above even these close relationships. Later on Peter asked the Lord concerning John, “And what shall this man do?” (v. 21) Jesus responded, “What is that to thee? YOU FOLLOW ME.”
The Lord Jesus calls us to undivided devotion to Himself. He must be not only first in our hearts, but everything to us. The Apostle Peter became what Christ said he would be because he chose to walk with God.
He learned the lesson of living in the secret of the presence of Christ, that place of certain good. There he received from the Lord what He wanted to give to him to share with a dying world.
Lord Jesus, be our Love and Joy this day. And Lord, in our families as well as in the crowd, enable us to live in the secret place of Thy presence, singularly devoted to Thee.