“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
You have likely heard the phrase “money talks.” It is true, the way we spend our money teaches others and us much about ourselves. I think this phrase can be extended to say, “lifestyle talks.” You see, the way we live our lives, including how we spend our money, time, and other resources, tells the world much about us. This is because all of these things show what we are living for. If we live for financial gain, then we probably hoard money and become solely dedicated to our jobs and climbing the financial ladder of success. If we are living for the approval of other people, then we value our time with them and their opinions of us over all else. Additionally, if we are living for Christ, we are committing time with him on a consistent basis and making decisions based on what will honor and glorify Him. In other words, “lifestyle talks.” Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God requires our complete and undivided love.
In Deuteronomy 6, God calls the Israelites to make Him and only Him the center of their lives. During this time, idol worship, or worshiping earthly things or even people instead of God, was huge in many nations. God’s message to the Israelites was that they were to be different than the surrounding nations. Instead of idols, God was to be the center of their lives. God’s message was communicated to the people of Israel through Moses, who said, “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (verses 4-5). This command was a call to live for God and God alone. It was also a call to forsake anything else trying to take the place of God in one’s life.
To live for Christ means to let go of all else that goes against Him and His kingdom. It means giving up the old life we clung to before Christ. The things that used to matter to us become insignificant. The things that we lived for no longer have a grasp on us anymore. Everything else pales in comparison to Christ.
Not only are we to live for Christ and center our lives around Him, but we must also teach our children to live the same way. We must have conversations with our kids, teaching them the importance of living for Christ and letting go of earthly things.
My friend, who are you living for? What does your lifestyle tell others about you and who you are living for? Maybe you realize that even though you are committed to Christ, you are still holding on to other things that you need to let go of. Parents, are you teaching your kids to live for Christ and forsake things that are trying to take His place? May you and I, and any children in our lives, unequivocally live for Him. In the words of Helen Lemmel, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Take time right now to journal. Evaluate your own life. Based on the way you spend your time, talents, and resources, where have you placed your allegiance? Where does your commitment lie? What are you living for? Next, pray. Confess any areas where you have misplaced commitment and tell God you commit to live solely for Him. Ask Him for courage to do this. Parents, after having some time to reflect and pray, lead your children in a Bible study this week. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-25 and talk about what it means to love God with all of your heart, soul, and strength. Tell them the importance of living a life that is centered on Christ.
Read Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (NLT)
“These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
“The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the Lord your God and serve him. When you take an oath, you must use only his name.
“You must not worship any of the gods of neighboring nations, for the Lord your God, who lives among you, is a jealous God. His anger will flare up against you, and he will wipe you from the face of the earth. You must not test the Lord your God as you did when you complained at Massah. You must diligently obey the commands of the Lord your God—all the laws and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to give your ancestors. You will drive out all the enemies living in the land, just as the Lord said you would.
“In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the Lord our God has commanded us to obey?’
“Then you must tell them, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand. The Lord did miraculous signs and wonders before our eyes, dealing terrifying blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had sworn to give our ancestors. And the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day. For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us.’