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What Must I Do to be Saved?

Is Your Top Priority To Love God With All Your Being?

Marvin L. Weir

      Much is said about priorities and at the beginning of a New Year resolutions are made that must fall somewhere into one’s priority list. Does it really matter how one chooses to prioritize, and if so, how does one know that he has made the correct choice? The wisdom of men may not place God and one’s fellowman at the top of a priority list, but the Holy Scriptures surely do. Let us learn from God’s Word about priorities, and the need to prioritize correctly in order to save our souls.

      The Purpose Of Man! God did not create humans in order for them to do as they please. The Bible forthrightly states, "every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made" (Isaiah 43:7). Even though speaking of Israel, God’s people of promise, the principle thought contained in this verse is applicable to all. God does not need man’s wisdom, reasoning, intellect, strength, or resolve to rule capably and completely in this world. But man needs God, and man’s chief purpose on earth should be to glorify God in all things!

      The Top Two Priorities For All Mankind Are Easily Identified! We live in a world where a large, vocal number desire to remove God and His Word from society. They have no use for godly moral principles or "the wisdom that is from above" (James 3:17). They do not desire to submit to or respect the Word of God and neither do they want anyone else to do so. This is clearly seen in the current sodomite movement. They are not content to engage in their sinful behavior quietly and among others of like kind — they demand that everyone else accept, honor, and bow down to their ungodly way of life. The faithful to God will never do such and darkness will continue to hate the light (cf. John 3:18-20).

      A Pharisee who was a lawyer sought to ensnare Jesus with this question: "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law" (Matthew 22:36). The Master answered, "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like (unto it) is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets" (Matt. 22:37-40).

      The Pharisees undoubtedly thought Jesus would be forced to answer by picking a single command from the Decalogue. They could then accuse Him of exalting one command above another or reason that some commands are inferior or not as important as other commands.

      The Lord did not answer as His enemies expected — and for good reason! There are no less important or optional commands given by God. But to love God with all of one’s being is what must come first in order to faithfully comply with obeying all of His laws! If one without hypocrisy loves God supremely, he will then humbly submit to all of His teachings. One who does such will then treat his neighbor or fellowman like he would desire to be treated.

      A person might have what he refers to as a good relationship with his friends and neighbors without having fellowship with God. But one cannot have fellowship with God without striving to have the proper relationship with other people. In other words, one cannot be acceptable to God while hating and mistreating his fellowman. Think of the multitude of problems that would be instantly solved if all people truly loved God with all their being and loved their neighbors as themselves!

      Arranging Our Priorities In Proper Order! It is not wrong to have a list of priorities, but one must make certain that his top priority is correct. God will not play "second fiddle" to anyone or anything. Moses instructed God’s chosen people, saying, " Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Jesus taught the same principle in saying, "But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness …" (Matthew 6:33).

      To make loving God with all of our being our top priority provides the answer to other so-called problems. It is the answer for:

  1. (1) Forsaking the assembly (Hebrews 10:25).
  2. (2) Failure to give cheerfully and as prospered (1st Corinthians 16:2; 2nd Corinthians 9:6-7).
  3. (3) Failure to study and grow in knowledge of the Word of God (2 Peter 3:18).
  4. (4) Failure to be the salt of the earth and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16).
  5. (5) Failure to flee fornication and all other immorality (1st Corinthians 6:18).
  6. (6) Failure to flee from idolatry (1st Corinthians 10:14).
  7. (7) Failure to worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).
  8. (8) Failure to obey the gospel (Romans 1:16; 2nd Thessalonians 1:7-9).
  9. (9) Failure to "fight the good fight of the faith" (1st Timothy 6:12).
  10. (10) Failure to defend the gospel (Philippians 1:16).
  11. (11) Failure to "be faithful unto death" (Revelation 1:10).
      Old Testament Worthies Who Had A Proper Top Priority! Let us consider:

      Abraham — who by faith "when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He left his family, friends, land, and home behind in order to put God first and honor Him (Genesis 12:1).

      Noah — who resisted the majority to be a "preacher of righteousness"(2nd Peter 2:5) and build the ark according to God’s instructions (Genesis 6:14ff). It is said of this faithful servant — "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he" (Genesis 6:22).

      Joshua and Caleb — who found themselves a minority voice but nonetheless stood firm for following God (Numbers 14:6-10). As a result of following God, Joshua and Caleb were the only two above 20 years of age that were permitted to enter the promised land.

      One who does not love God with all of his heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) will not put God first in his life and will lose his soul. A Christian must not forget Paul’s plea to the Colossians — "Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:2-3). One’s top priority will determine the eternal state of his soul!