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Jeanne Noriega wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What does the Commandment, You shall not have any strange gods mean?
  • How can someone put something before God?
  • Is it a sin if you could pray but instead you do something else?

Jeanne

  { What does not having strange gods before me mean and is it a sin if you could pray but don't? }

Bob replied:

Jeanne,

Putting other gods before God means making something else your purpose for being and serving.

God should be the center and purpose for our lives for we are born to know, love, and serve God in this life and to be happy with Him in the next. (Baltimore Catechism)

If you make your principal purpose in life:

  • to simply acquire as much money as possible
  • to be as famous as possible
  • to indulge in pleasure without restraint, or
  • anything that makes God second or irrelevant

then that has become an idol that replaces God.

Money, fame, pleasure, and other goods are not bad in themselves but they can be if they compete for primacy in our lives. Jesus said one cannot serve God and mammon (money).

Lastly, choosing not to pray so as to do something else is not a sin, but failure to pray altogether is sloth, which is sinful. We need to set aside time to pray, so sometimes sacrifice is involved.

God wants us to be in union with Him all the time so pray in everything even when it is not formal prayer time.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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