For the last 25 years I’ve been offering advice to high school graduates. Those words seem a little shallow now that I have my very own high school senior preparing to cross the stage. I hope the words that I have shared over the past 18+ years have some way stuck in your mind. Nonetheless I feel compelled to offer some thoughts on your tomorrow and the tomorrows that will follow after that.
As I was thinking about words that I wanted to offer, my mind was drawn to the Ten Commandments. I know you know God’s Top Ten, but I want to give you a little different perspective on them. Hopefully, these words will encourage you in God-ward directions as long as you live.
Commandment 1: Establish God as Your Ultimate Priority in Life
“You must have no other God but me.” (Exodus 20:3, NLT)
This command is first for a reason. It’s not just first in a list, it’s first in importance. Unless God is first, the rest of the list is nothing more than a moral compass. What does it mean to make God first? It means that God must be the recipient of your ultimate devotion and service. The command clarifies that God is not the highest among competing affections, but the uncontested affection of your life.
Jesus talks about how our love for family, friends, and self should appear as hate when compared to the surpassing love we display to God (Luke 14:26). But the love we have for ourselves and our stuff is pretty strong.
Proverbs 1:7 says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” When the fear of God is absent from your life, you become a slave to lesser fears. But when God is the environment of your life (Col. 3:1-4), and when you establish him as supreme (Colossians 1:18), you’ll be surprised how much sense the rest of the list makes sense. And life too, for that matter.