Do you remember how you felt when you walked into class and the teacher told everyone to put away your books and to take out a clean piece of paper? Oh no! Not a test!? …Don’t you just hate that feeling? You didn’t realize you were about to be tested? Well–in the verses we are looking at today, we find out God is testing us–whether we know it or not!

“you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.”—Deut 13:3-4

There will be people who will try to get us to follow other gods. The Bible tells us not to follow other gods. Only follow the one true God! That may sound like an easy command at first. However, we are told that there will be false prophets and dreamers who will try to lead us astray. You may think–well that’s okay–God will protect me and not let that happen. Well … that’s not true. God allows it. He tests us, in order to see whether we will love him or not – with all our heart and all our soul.

God won’t force us to love him–it’s up to us. He’ll test us to see whether we do or not. Loving God with all our heart and soul means to follow and revere or worship–be in awe of–him. It means keeping his commands–obeying and holding fast to them. Words are not enough. Actions come in to play here. God’s Word continues in Deut 13:6 by shockingly stating that it can even be family or close friends that try to lead us astray. It’s not just strangers or people that seem evil to us! It doesn’t matter who it is–we’re not to listen to them or show them pity, to spare them or to shield them (Deut 13:8). In fact, in Deut 13:5 it states that the Israelites were to “purge the evil from among them.” God takes it seriously when people try to turn his people away from the Lord their God!

Do you feel like you are being tested by God? These words really make me do some soul searching. How about you? Do these verses make you step back and question your heart’s desires? I must say they’ve caught my attention. It’s easy for me to point at how society is leading us astray from God – keeping him from our schools–discriminating against those of us who believe in God and our Lord Jesus. But, what are we doing individually–internally? What am I doing?

Do I love God with all my heart and with all my soul? Is God testing me? Do I follow him, revere or worship or hold him up higher than anyone and anything else, keep his commands and obey them? Do I serve God and hold fast to him? It hurts me to ask these questions–because as much as I want to say yes I do… I know I fall so short of it. Not only do I fall short – I am so afraid I may unwillingly be a stumbling block for others to him–and possibly lead them astray. Or at least not direct them to him. It’s not on purpose–not my plan. But that doesn’t really matter. Oh the ramifications of my actions–if that’s true!

My heart wants to love God with all my heart and my soul. I know that’s what I am to do and what is best for me. Yet, I know there are things in my life that I put first–that are idols before God. …Security. Family. Sports. Auburn. The passions that I keep wanting to somehow be in my life. I know in the past I’ve worried about this and I think I put them on the “altar” for God–to turn them over to Him. But–they remain. So, I stay confused. I keep wondering if there is something I am to do with these passions in serving God. I just can’t see how, if that’s the case – so I keep worrying that I’m loving them too much–more than God.

My Prayer:

Lord, please forgive me when I put anything or anyone before you – including my love for sports and Auburn. Now, that may sound silly to others. Yet, you know my heart. You know my desires. You made me–created me. You know my internal struggles. You know how these passions bring me such joy. You know how I’m supposed to be using these interests and other gifts you’ve given me in order to serve you. Please show me. Open my heart and my eyes to the best way of using my talents and passions FOR you–to serve you.

If my love for sports and Auburn or anything else are keeping me from following or serving you–please make that clear to me and purge these thoughts, desires and interests from me, Lord! But, if there is a way to use these passions in a way to bring people to you–to share my story with others and bring them to you–please show me how this can be done. You know I would love that so very much. Yet, if it’s not your will for me to use these interests – make it clear to me! Yes, make it clear and change my heart. Then please show me what steps and actions I am to take and where. I know you are working in me Lord. Please open my eyes and ears so I can see, hear and recognize you working in me and around me. Please make it as obvious as possible–so very clear–so I have no questions. I want to have a passion when I wake up to serve you–not to just make it through another day.

Thank you Lord. Now, I know you want us to step out in faith–even when things aren’t clear. Then you make things more obvious for us. I just need to know what direction to take that step. I need you–I trust you. I do love you. Show me how to love you with all my heart and soul–how to follow you–how to hold fast to you. Create that clean heart in me Lord–so I may live best the life you planned for me in the very beginning. If there are any others reading this, who are also struggling with putting you first Lord–with loving you above all else and what that means–please allow them to see you working in their lives too. Thank you again Lord–we do love you…now show us how to love you with all our heart and with all our soul! Amen.