Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love God first, let everything else find its place--Wesley Foundation E-letter (Methodist Campus Ministry)

Dear Friends,


Hey there!  How about this weather?  I never know how to dress from day to day.  I guess that’s one of the blessings of living in Kentucky.  We’ve got some fun things happening this week.  Of course tonight is our meal and program at 6:30pm.  We will be looking at how we can choose goals as a ministry for this semester.  It should be really good.


Sunday is the BIG GAME!!!!! Join us at the Wesley Foundation to watch it.  We’ll be eating homemade chili.  Be sure and bring your friends!  We’ll gather about 3:30pm or 4pm.  See you then!


Now For Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:


Today when I opened my Bible for quiet time, my eyes fell upon these words:


“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed.  You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess” (Deuteronomy 30:16-18).


These are the parting words of Moses as he addresses Israel before handing over leadership of the people to Joshua.  I am struck by their simplicity as well as their gravity.  It is amazing how simple things are often the most important ones.  If I could leave a word of encouragement, exhortation, advice, or admonishment to anyone who would seek “famous last words” from me, it would be these:  “Love God first, let everything else find its place after that.” 


I love the verse in Romans (4:20) that speaks of Abraham this way:  It says, “he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”  The message is that in the loving of God, Abraham himself was transformed.  As we love God first, we are changed; and as we are changed, everything else changes.  For me it is a clarion call.  Love God first, let everything else find its place.  It is why I always ask in the course of conversation, “Have you prayed about it?”  Seeking God’s opinion about the details of our lives tends to reveal quite a bit about us, especially in those areas where we are reluctant to do so.  I am reminded of the quote that says “the devil is in the details.”  Well.


But please also hear the lift in the lesson.  Moses does not say follow God’s rules first and then love God.  Relationship values always come before righteousness values with God.  In fact, there is no righteousness outside of relationship with God.  This is why the famous “love” chapter, I Corinthians 13, is so quick to point out that perfect performance in regard to the law is absolutely worthless if it is devoid of love.  So often Christians and non-believers alike get discouraged when it comes to matters of faith because living up to the perfect law of Christ is such an impossibility.  What we all fail to realize is that Christ Jesus calls us to a love relationship with Himself, promising that He Himself is the fulfillment of the law.  As that love for Jesus grows in our hearts, so does Christ-likeness grow in our attitudes and actions.  Love always comes first.  The law of who we are always follows what we love.


And Moses speaks to the seriousness of who (or what) it is that we love.  If we seek anyone or anything other than the true God to be our first love, everything else about our lives will follow in that direction.  And if God is ultimately what is highest in all of existence, then anything else is less than.  Anything else will ultimately lead to our destruction.  Anything else will breed a lawlessness within us that will reproduce itself in every area of our lives.  Even loving the law of God before loving the God who gave it has dire consequences.  Such a choice gives birth to the most awful kind of legalism that puts to death the very life that God’s law is intended to produce. The choice really is always between life and prospering versus death and destructing.


It takes courage sometimes to love God with everything that we are.  But this is the only choice in life that will truly satisfy the deep hunger of our souls.  We may get everything else in life we ever want, but if we haven’t found that First love, our hearts will still be wanting.  Something.  Anything.  Constantly craving a substitute to cover the hole that is calling out for God.  Conversely, we can be so far away from attaining our actual “goals” and “dreams,” yet knowing the deep love of Jesus in the core of who we are, and in that love be completely content.


I invite you to be courageous with me.  For today at least, anyway.












Sami Wilson

Campus Minister/Director

WKU Wesley Foundation

United Methodist Campus Ministry



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