God couldn’t make it any clearer: we are to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind and He is to be our ‘first love.’
I am no longer a young Christian but I have been seriously challenged recently by the poem The Young Christian, written by a woman, Margaret Maura, aged 22. In this poem she grapples with the conflict between her love of the world and her love for Christ. She starts the first stanza with painful honesty:
I cannot give it up,
The little world I know
The innocent delights of youth
The things I cherish so!
‘Tis true I love my Lord
And long to do His will;
But O, may I enjoy the world
And be a Christian still!
She then begins a poetic journey towards the truth of our verse and discovers that loving the world (living for time instead of eternity and embracing the values of the world system) displaces God. The truth then dawns on her that this is the world that crucified Christ, so how could she possibly love it?
Stanza 4 casts the spotlight on the cross:
And yet – ‘outside the camp’ –
‘Twas there my Saviour died!
It was the world that cast Him forth,
And saw Him crucified.
Can I take part with those
Who nailed Him to a tree?
And where His name is never praised,
Is that the place for me?
As Maura’s poem rises to a crescendo, she reaches a realisation in stanza 8 that the grip of the world loosens when she finds true satisfaction in God alone:
Shame on me that I sought
Another joy than this,
Or dreamed a heart at rest with Thee
Could crave for earthly bliss!
These vain and worthless things,
I put them all aside:
His goodness fills my longing soul,
AND I AM SATISFIED.
John Piper has famously said, ‘God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.’ Whether it’s the home life, church life, relationships, money, time or service, God must come first. He is our priority. All legalistic rules and regulations disappear as our will aligns with His. Sin and the flesh become less as He becomes more. And the world loses its vice-like grip because God is our first love and all satisfaction is found in Him.
Our priority is what is most important to us. What is most important to you?