"I am the Lord your God.... You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:2,3)

"I am the Lord your God.... You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:2,3).

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38).

The Lord God Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth. He is all powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere. And He longs to have us conjoined with Him and experience the eternal heavenly happiness He offers. A vital step in developing this bond or conjunction is contained in the first of the Ten Commandments - we must put aside all other gods in our lives and worship the Lord alone. The first great commandment from the New Testament tells us how to do this - through love, for love brings about conjunction.

We must give the Lord the primary place in our spiritual lives, by loving Him above the things of self and the world. But how do we do this? As the Lord told His disciples, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me" (John 14:21). Truly loving the Lord means living from Him, by living according to the spiritual principles He has given us in His Word. Although keeping the commandments may not feel like love at first, the practice of following the Lord will build a love in us, giving Him the central place in our hearts and souls and minds.

Highlights for this topic include

READ: "One Lord" by the Rev. Philip B. Schnarr
This article provides an excellent introduction into the New Church perspective on the Lord God Jesus Christ. "God is at the center of all religion, and our religion impacts our lives.... [It] governs our world view and the important principles which guide our choices in life. In short, our idea of God affects us completely."

  SPIRITUAL TASK: Noticing False Gods (teens and adults) (PDF)

ACTIVITY: Hand Motions for the Two Great Commandments (PDF)

READ: "The First Commandment" by Thomas Hitchcock
This family article explains the meaning of the first commandment in our own lives - we may not be tempted to make physical idols, but there are other ways in which we can disobey this commandment.

FOR REFLECTION: Setting Priorities (PDF)

SING: "The Two Great Commandments" by Lori Odhner (PDF)

READ: His Life Within You" by the Rev. Peter M. Buss, Jr.
Tthink for a moment about what your life may be like a year from now.... How will the Lord Himself help you to make some spiritual progress this year? What is He leading you toward? What is most important to Him?

COLLAGE: The Lord Loves Everyone (ages 4-up) (PDF)

ACTIVITY: Make Tie-Dyed Sun Shirts (ages 6-12) (PDF)