We learn of three tests in Genesis 22 that God gave to Abraham. In this post we’ll examine the first test. The first test God gave to Abraham and gives to us is: The Love Test (Genesis 22:1-2)
In our story God told Abraham: Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on the mountain I will show you.”
After 25 years of waiting, God blessed Abraham with a son (Isaac) and Abraham loved Isaac very, very much. But God wanted to make sure that Abraham loved the Blesser more than the blessing. So he commanded Abraham to give up Isaac in order to prove that he loved the Giver more than the gift itself. God tested Abraham’s love. And God does the same with us.
God will test the genuineness of your love for Him by watching to see if you place Him first in your life. It’s only when we put God first that He knows that we love him. It’s not by what we say or sing on Sunday in worship – it’s only by placing him first, like Abraham did, that God knows that we love him. So let me ask you: Is God first in your life? I’m going to ask you three questions to help you determine the answer to this question.
- Is God first in your schedule? Do you prioritize spending time with him as the first thing you do each day? When you put meeting with God before meeting with others you show him that you love him more than anyone else. I am up between 4:30 AM and 5 AM each morning. My alarm is set so that the very first appointment I have each day is with God. This is how I show God that he is first in my schedule. And this time is on my calendar. Every meeting I have with a staff member or with someone in our church or with a doctor or dentist is on my calendar, so my time with God is also scheduled on my calendar. This is one way I show God that I love him more than anyone else because I meet with him before I do anyone else.
- Is God first in your finances? Do you prioritize the giving of tithes and offerings as the first thing you do with your paycheck? When you give of your tithes and offerings before you pay the mortgage, the car payment, the utilities, or pay the credit card company, you are showing God you love him more than anything else. I am paid on the 1st and the 16th of each month. Through bill pay my tithe (10% of my gross income) is automatically sent out on the 1st and the 16th. I say gross and not net because if you tithe off the gross, you’ve let the government get the first portion of what you’ve earned. That puts God in second place. Since God wants to be first place, even in our finances, I pay him off the gross – He’s the first to receive anything from me. The second check that gets cut, that also goes out on the 1st and 16th is my offering. On top of our tithe Kristin and I give another 5% from each paycheck as an offering to our building fund. By giving to God before I pay anyone else I show God that he is first in my finances. Now technically, the tithe is not giving, rather returning, for the Bible says that the tithe belongs to the Lord. But you get my point. I show God I love him more than anyONE else by meeting with him first and I show God I love him more than anyTHING else by giving to him first. For Kristin and I – God is first in both our meetings and our money.
- Is God first in your relationships? If God told you to break up with someone you were dating, would you do it? Some of you who are Christians are dating non-Christians. That needs to stop. Who do you love more? God who says it’s wrong or the person you’re dating? If God told you to stop spending so much time at work with someone of the opposite sex that you aren’t married to, would you do it? If God told you to end a friendship, would you end it? I remember as a teenager God testing my love for him by asking me to give up a friendship…with my best friend at the time. This person began having more of a negative influence on me then I had positive on him and I felt in my heart that God was asking me to give up the friendship. So that’s exactly what I did. And it wasn’t easy. But I knew God was testing my love for him. Would I show God that I loved him more by prioritizing my relationship with him over and above any human relationship or would I prioritize a human relationship over and above my relationship with him? It was a test – the love test!
When we put God in second or third place in our lives instead of first place, we should have no expectation that He will be Jehovah Jireh: God Our Provider. God provides for those who love him above everyONE else and everyTHING else. Jesus says it this way in Matthew 6:33, ”Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” You see, God doesn’t commit to provide for your needs unless you commit to make him first in your life.
Answer this question in your heart: Are you passing or failing the love test?