God Doesn’t Want to Be #1

Starry Night by Van Gogh (amazon.com)

That’s a pretty tabloidy title for a God-oriented guy like me. Maybe not quite up there with “Flying Saucer Lands on White House Lawn!” But the thing is, it’s true. God doesn’t want to be number one in our lives. He wants to be the only one. That’s why he created us.

Sure, like polar bears in the desert, we might find a way to survive by (very carefully) living on cactus. For a while. But that amounts to living an artificial life, not the one we were made for. Are you ready for more?

Tabloid title #2: God Wants Us to “Hate” Everyone but Him!


Hey, don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

True, Jesus often uses hyperbole (exaggeration), a common rabbinical technique, to introduce ideas. And he is indeed doing that here. So it would be accurate to say he means “hate” in contrast to our love for God. But wait, there’s more.

Tabloid title #3: God Created Us to Love Only Him!


The problem is, English has just one word for love (“I love my kids,” “I love pepperoni pizza”), and the New Testament Greek has at least four. So when (after telling us to hate our wives and children), Jesus tells us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), he’s using the Greek word agape, the only form of love that’s divine in origin. It’s the same kind of love we’re told God has for us (“For God so loved the world…”).

Yes, there are other forms of love (sensual, familial, friendship), but all of them are conditional and purely human in origin. None of them is powerful enough to restore our broken world.

So, when Jesus tells us to hate the people we care most about, even ourselves, he’s telling us to stop believing our half-baked human love is enough. Only when God is our only, our everything, are we transformed enough for God’s love to begin restoring the world through us. Only then is our love for those whom Jesus told us to “hate” transformed into perfect agape love.

Fellow polar bears: It’s time leave the desert, time to stop living on cactus and serving cactus to others, time to head for true north. Because only when God is our only love…

Is our love enough.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to God Doesn’t Want to Be #1

  1. Gail Perry says:

    I love this post! You figure out which definition of love I mean. God is my one and only!

    Liked by 7 people

  2. That God dude can ask for the hard things, but with love, it is enough.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. True true true Mitch. God grows our hearts by several sizes!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. boromax says:

    Yes! It is time to leave the desert and head for true north. It is time.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nope, our half-baked human love is not enough. Even when at its best, it can’t save our souls.

    Some in the world have it “bass ackwards;” they think love is god, when, in actuality, God is love.

    Yet another post that caused me to stop and think. Well done, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. revruss1220 says:

    AMEN! Your tabloid titles remind me of the book, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman, which said, essentially, “Jesus did not call FANS. Jesus called FOLLOWERS.” Love of God and love of neighbor are one coin, two sides. Christmas blessings to you and yours.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Kathryn says:

    Had to take time to share this one. So much Truth! Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is like one of our pastors who started his sermon with the statement that Jesus shouldn’t be first in our lives, shouldn’t be the center of our lives. After startling everyone with this opener, he read Colossians 3:4 – “When Christ, who IS your life…” So He’s not to be first, He’s to be first, last and everything in between.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Van Gogh’s art has a striking resemblance of the ocean God is supreme!💦

    Liked by 2 people

  10. numrhood says:

    luke 39:51, matthew 5:19


  11. c.f. leach says:

    Great post my friend. And my you and your family have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. K.L. Hale says:

    I love this Mitch! What a great way to describe how we are to love him. He is my only true love. Merry Christmas to you and yours! ❤️🎄

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Classic Teemley post, awesome photos and solid message! I wish you a beautiful holiday season, and an extra-special happy and healthy New Year! Ramona

    Liked by 1 person

  14. meechypluto says:

    God is everything

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thaddeus (Ted) Jarosz says:

    I am very moved with your innermost thoughts about your hardworking Dad whom I did no know but did know thru your most wonderful MOTHER ,humane kind, all positive person known to mankind . Your mother has always been in my thoughts as well as you Mitch. Hopefully she is still with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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