The First Commandment is the Best Commandment

Posted by Sam on February 14, 2018
Categories: 6pm blog

yellow dye

The Christian life is a dynamic thing.

It is not a set of religious movements or moments that punctuate our week, nor is it a background ideology on which we build our lives but rarely re-examine it. Rather, it permeates and infiltrates the landscape of both of those words - Christian and life.

Firstly it is Christian, thoroughly Christian. It concerns Christ. It is marked and shaped by knowing Jesus relationally, acknowledging that He is the Christ, following His teaching and his pattern of words, convictions, and actions. It takes place in our thoughts and attitudes towards Him, our reverence before Him, our love and gratitude and feelings for Him.

And this isn’t an ethereal feeling, but it walks around in 'life'. It clothes itself in all that life entails - our moments, our days, our waking and sleeping. It is not a layer we add on top of regular life, but it is like a dye which seeps into all that we are and all that we do. The Christian life is how we live, why we live - not separated out from our physical actions, but down there amongst them, in the margins even between our breaths, in millimetres, and the non-physical space of attitudes and affections. So much of life can happen automatically, unthinkingly, but it is no less saturated with our worship of Jesus - like His blood running through our veins.

But none of this is a particularly new idea.

When God commands Israel,
"Do not have other gods besides Me”
He is making a claim on their life and their worship.
He is exercising ownership over their reverence.

He is saying,
"Israel, in all the ways that you conceive of yourself in my universe, you must do it in reference to Me”.

God here is commanding that Israel acknowledge Him alone as their Creator, Him alone as their rescuer, redeemer, Him alone as the one they are to fear, to whom they should be devoted, to serve, to live their lives for.

Let’s be clear, this is not an ugly assertion of manipulative power from an insecure megalomaniac. God commands the devotion of Israel because He is the only God. He is their creator, redeemer and rescuer. He is the one they were made by and for. Their lives are truly alive when they are devoted to Life Himself.

And all of this is what it means to worship.

So that now, as I brush my teeth, I can do it in worship. In the body that God has made, admitting I am one of His creatures, in my mundane daily care that seeks to cut with the grain of God’s reality and follow Jesus as long and as faithfully as I’m able.

As I engage with the lies of the world I can do it in worship. As I think from the starting point that things are as God has told me, I am deferring authority to Him, ascribing wisdom and worth to Him.

As I am focused and fixed in a time of prayer to God, or praise in song, or meditation on His word - it is all coloured with the dye of admitting that He is who He says He is. It is a heartbeat that swells with the blood of Jesus; the conviction that He is the Christ and my life is a Christian one, given to Him in service and worship.

All of this is the dynamic drama of the Christian life. It is all a life of worship, centred on Christ and inhabiting my very life - from my career and my days, to my words, and down into my attitudes, affections, and beliefs. God commands we have no other gods before Him, Jesus calls to us ‘follow me’, and the rest of life is then set to the tune of worshipful discipleship in relationship with Life Himself.

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