God’s Rivals

October 27, 2012

God’s Rivals

            God wants all of our heart.  Mark 12:30 says “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”  In verse 31 he allows room for us to love also our loved ones, friends, and neighbors.  The problem is that, altogether too often, we let other things take the place that God should have in our lives.

Some elderly people feel as though their children have abandoned them.  They live in a care center or alone in their own home.  Sometimes a month or more goes by and they don’t hear anything from their children.  Their children have time for social activities, athletic events, and the regular activities at home, but they don’t find time to even give their parent or parents a phone call.  When we leave God out of our lives he must feel like those elderly people feel whose children neglect them.

In the life of men, especially  teen age boys, one of God’s rivals is athletic events.  If men and boys aren’t out playing ball, they are watching games on television.  In itself, there is nothing wrong with sports, but if it takes so much of one’s time that God is left out, it can become sin.  If a man’s wife dies suddenly, do you think he is going to find consolation in playing football?  That may take his mind off of reality for a time, but when he goes back to his empty house, the aching void will still be there.  He needs the consolation that the abiding presence of God with him can give him.  Some men may say, “Well, I’ll wait until my wife dies and then I’ll seek God.”  I’m sorry, but you aren’t going to find much consolation in God after having abandoned him for such a long time.

Earthly possessions are another one of God’s rivals.  When people go through a financial crisis their thoughts turn to God.  In our ministry inArgentinawe noticed that people were much more inclined to seek God when they were going through hard times financially.  When everything was going well for them they lived as though they didn’t need God.  Only the genuine dedicated Christian can go on giving God his rightful place in time of prosperity.

Social activities are another rival of God.  We need to take time for others.  We can’t be a witness to our friends and relatives if we isolate ourselves from them.  That doesn’t justify us in being negligent in our spiritual activities.  I have much respect for a believer who is willing to say to a friend or relative, “I’m sorry, but I can’t come to your party because I have an activity at church at that time.”  It’s nearly always possible to show them respect and attention at other times, and in other ways.

To keep our relationship with God warm and personal it’s good to dedicate time every morning to Bible reading and prayer. God wants and deserves our worship.  Someone has written:

I meet with God in the morning

When the day is at its best.

His presence comes like sunshine

Like a glory in my breast.

God is jealous of our attention.  Exodus 34:14 says “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  Numerous verses in the Bible tell us that our God is a jealous God.  Jealousy is not a sin when it is used in this context.  Marriage partners are justified in being jealous when they see someone giving undue attention to their spouse.

God has chosen to use us to carry out his work here on earth.  He can’t use us if our priorities aren’t right.  Many times churches don’t have the outreach in their community they should have because their members are occupied in things of this world and don’t have time to participate in church activities.

I can think of friends of mine who made a decision for Christ.  They began to read their Bible and attend church regularly.  Unfortunately, they allowed one or more of God’s rivals to come between them and God.  Now, if they attend church, it’s only occasionally.  In speaking of such people the Apostle Paul wrote “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)

My friend, if you have let God’s rivals hinder your relationship with him, please take into consideration what you are losing.  You need to recognize that it’s sin and ask God’s forgiveness.  He wants you to return to the relationship you once had with him.  Hebrews 12:1-4 says “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.    For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.    Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

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