Of the 10 commandments, the first is the greatest – “I am the Lord your God, have no other God’s before me.” Not only is this the greatest command, it is the essential command. If we could but obey this one command, then we would need no other. If our hearts kept fidelity with God, if we truly loved Him with all our heart and with all our soul with all our strength and with all our mind; then we would naturally and without any effort keep every other command.
But, I don’t keep this command. I do not keep fidelity with Christ. My heart is filled with idols. John Calvin puts it quite plainly, “Man’s nature…is a perpetual factory of idols. . . every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, an expert in inventing idols.”1 The Bible clearly equates our idolatry with adultery (Ezekiel 16, Jeremiah 2:23-25). Therefore, in my idolatry, I possess the heart of a whore; the appetite of a harlot; the disposition of divorcee. I leave the God of my salvation to chase after other lovers.
Since this is true, our repentance should primarily focus on worshiping God. Our struggle against sin should be fueled by an endeavor to exalt Christ. Every command of Christ that I break is essentially a symptom of breaking the greatest command. My salvation, then, must come in the form of renewed fidelity to my Husband/King. The rescue from my struggle against pride, anger, lust, control, pleasure, approval, laziness, fear, and shame is found in worshiping my Lord and my God. My rescue from these idols is not found in cutting the head off the hydra only to have two heads grow back in their place.2 My deliverance from these demons is not secured by casting one demon out only to have seven demons return.3 My battle against the rat infested idolatry my heart is not won by running around the pitch black recesses of my soul with a blindfold over my eyes and a baseball bat in my hand. No, I must come back to the first command. I must ask Christ to lift the veil from eyes once again. I must see my Husband. I must worship my King. Only the radiance of His love can renew my fidelity with Him.
So, if I want to love my wife with fidelity, then I must love my God with fidelity; because idolatry and adultery are two faces of the same coin.
1Quotes from Calvin – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion and Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles
3See Luke 11:24-26