5 Verses for Keeping Love in the Right Order

Right Order .jpg

“You just can’t give your 100% to two things at once.”

I knew my counselor was right. As a young woman, I had made a commitment to God that I wouldn’t date that year in school. I hadn’t been loving Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength; I needed to change.

 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12: 29 – 30 (NIV)


That commitment was all well and good, until the guy I had been crushing on for seven years contacted me.

Wait God? Why would you bring me the “desires of my heart” if you didn’t want me to be with the “desire of my heart”?

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21 (NIV)

Would I keep my commit to the Father or go after my “friend”? He called again; said he was flying 1,000 to see me.

Oh God?! What should I do?

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15: 9 -10 (NIV)

And here is where I had to decide. Who would I love more? Whose love would come first? Would I just say Jesus was my everything or would He be my everything?

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 

So, I made the hardest decision I have made yet. I told him “no”. Please don’t come. I can’t. I cried. I grieved. and then I thanked God.

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

In showing His love toward us, God put us first. Put us before Himself. In showing my love back to Him, I need to do the same. Put Him above myself and above others in my life.

After a season of obeying Him and truly learning no man can fill the love gap in my heart – not my dad, not a boyfriend, not even an amazing husband one day, He did give me the desire of my heart. And I did marry my crush. But Jesus did and still does have my heart.

Today, I’m giving away a bundle pack of my books, “His Revolutionary Love” and “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” for you to share with a young woman in your life who needs to know only Jesus can fill the love gap in her heart. To be entered to win, share, in the comments below, the love that struggles to share first place in your heart. If you’re in a hurry, just say, “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner on my Thursday Wisdom Tip!

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter! You can find me at Lynn Cowell!




    1. Still struggling with trying to meet my desires with husband and family — help!

      1. Lynn Cowell says:

        Dear Darcy, The only way I am able to keep this expectation on Christ and off of others is by constantly filling up my heart with the truth on how crazy Jesus is about me! I take scripture such as Psalm 45:11 and Song of Solomon, write it on index cards and read it to my heart over and over and over. As I do, because His word is so powerful, my heart is filled! It doesn’t just happen. But with the power of the Holy Spirit and hard work, we can find Jesus to be the filler of our love gap!

  1. Traci Spooner says:

    As a teen, I struggled with this, which carried into my adult life. Now as a youth group leader of high school girls, I see your resources would be just the thing I’m looking for to share with my girls, and my daughter one day!! Thank you!!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:


      Thank you so much for investing in high school girls! We can help to change the trajectory of their lives by teaching them to pursue Jesus first! I’d love to share my free resources for you to use with your precious girls. Just go to http://www.LynnCowell.com and click on “freebies”.

      Also, I have a Facebook page for those who invest in teen girls I would love to invite every one to. Just shoot me an invitation at https://www.facebook.com/groups/314312958708363/ – Lynn’s Behind the Scene Team

    2. Di Willadsen says:

      Thank you for your inspirational testimony! I love how God’s Word never fails. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Also, I love Ps5:10, 11.God bless you and yours abundantly.

      1. Di Willadsen says:

        I forgot to add. ….I’m in!
        I have 4 daughters aged 17 to 30 and I am blessed to have 4 granddaughters to my oldest one.

  2. Lynn, thank you for sharing those powerful verses! Our love for God must come first. There are so many issues and struggles that fight for our attention every day. That’s probably why we’re taught to start the day with God-in prayer and scripture. the young women settle for anyone they can get-their self esteem is so low. They deserve a man/husband that respects them and loves them as God loves us.
    I’m sharing your website with several of my younger friends in hopes they will see their value thru God’s eyes. Thank you!

  3. Jennifer Barrett says:

    After many years of searching for people and places to fill my need to be valued, I’m trying daily to remember that God already sees it, and always has. We are his masterpieces, and that’s the value system I need to connect with the most.

  4. Jennifer Carmona says:

    Every day, for only a couple of weeks now, I am choosing to believe God’s love and presence can fill me more than my friend Angel can ever fill me. After demanding so much I realize that by God’s grace He wants me to know there is no other love and attention like His. And I am cooperating moment by moment to surrender my temporary desires for His eternal love.

  5. Christine says:

    I’m in. I teach 7th grade girls Sunday school and would love to give this book to one of them.

  6. My granddaughter will turn 21 in June….. I would love to share your Godly wisdom on love with her.

  7. My granddaughter will turn 21 in June… I would love to share your Godly wisdom with her!

  8. I SO struggled with this as a young woman! Now, married to a wonderful man and with two children (a daughter who is 13 and a son, 15), I struggle to keep my love for God first because I love them so much! Our chief concern for our children in this fast world is for them to remain pure until marriage, keping God at the center of their lives. After reading this, and your post at Proverbs 31, perhaps we will reword that to say God first rather than at the center!

  9. It has taken me several years to realize that no person can satisfy my longing soul and fulfill me at the deepest level but my Heavenly Father. He has allowed those who I have looked to for fulfillment to disappoint me at times so that I could see that He didn’t want me to put my expectations in them. God truly knows me better than anyone, better than I know myself, and If I will only trust Him, he truly will give me the desires of my heart – HIM.

  10. Lynn, thanks so much for your words today.i plan on sharing this with my 13 yr old granddaughter.
    What a nice way to teach her about God’s love.

  11. Charity Beasley says:

    I’ve spent so many years of my life trying to get people to fill that place in my heart that only Jesus can fill!!! I am so glad that His love is never failing and He is my Beloved. Now, I am trying to teach our young women in our youth to become dependent on the One who will never let them down. Thanks for the daily encouragement!

  12. I’d love to share the book with young women at our church’s counseling ministry, to help them understand that God fulfills love! Thanks for sharing your story of making the right choice to put Jesus first.

  13. This is so good. And I often need reminders of this truth. I have found in my life 100 too many times that God is only one who can fill my heart. Your books seem amazing. Thankyou for your truth this morning!!!!!

  14. Wonderful. Praying for my 12 year old granddaughter and her friends as they enter their terns.

  15. It took me until I was 40 something to learn this important lesson. I kept putting my family and husband before God. I know it is God’s desire for my two teenage daughters to learn to love God first before they start dating. It is a difficult lesson to teach and learn in our culture when we’re told the exact opposite. Thank you for the work you are doing for HiM!

  16. Kari Silvester Reid says:

    This has been a struggle for me in my life and I married a non believer. Ithis had been a very difficult situation to do and be all God intended through my struggles. I also work on a school where I see this too being an issue for many young people. I also am a mother of 2 young daughters of 8 and 12 with this being a need in their heArt. Please keep sharing and prAying for all of this! I would love these books!!!thsnks!!

  17. This was perfect timing to hear! I needed a reminder of Love in the right order to refresh my mindset both for me and my 12 year old daughter!

  18. You are completely right. In the past I learned this lesson with the one is my husband and I keep learning that Jesus is #1 in my life. Thank you for sharing that today.

  19. I will admit that when my heart is aching, I forget to check my heart! I usually think in all in my head! Thak you for reminding me! I’m in for sure!

  20. Thank you for sharing this today as it is a timely word for me.

  21. God has blessed me with an awesome, loving husband. But He has also shown me that my husband cannot meet all of my needs. Only Jesus can do that and He is the one who fulfills me. I pray my two daughters will understand and embrace this all important truth.

  22. I’m in!

    Thank you for this reminder and for your brave example of loving God first. As a single 23yo with so much pressure to date I needed to hear this. I know I’m not the only one struggling to keep God first when the world tells me to hurry up and find someone. I’ve made the mistake of putting a guy first, but now I think I’ve learned my lesson.

    Thank you!

  23. I recently shared something similar at our church – God is the only one to fill the gap in your heart! Every human will, at some point, disappoint. When God is enough & all we need, that’s where He can do His greatest work in our lives! I’d love to win the books. Thanks so much for sharing.

  24. Easy to say- hard to keep focused on Him with demands of life–keep focused on this wisdom and truth in sharing with my daughters in the few short years ahead and for me!
    Thanks for your encouragement.

  25. claudette says:

    I need this after a failed marriage and now dating again. I need help doing this and encouragement. Also have a 13 year old daughter who I have been wanting to get these books and do them with her but I can’t afford them. She is already thinking of boys more than God.

  26. Nancy Klaassen says:

    I’m in!! I’d love for my daughter to read these books!

  27. I would love to share these truths with my granddaughter in a loving way and your books would be perfect for that. Thanks for addressing this very important topic.

  28. What wonderful books to share with my wonderful granddaughter.

  29. Thanks for the great words this morning! Will share the blog with my 13 and 9 year old daughters. Not only did it offer encouragement for me, but will for them as well.

  30. These are truths that I didn’t understand throughout my school career. I still struggle with expecting my husband to meet the needs of my heart at times. My daughter just turned 11 and I see this desire to be wanted appearing and am trying to teach her these truths that I know but struggle to live by.

  31. This hit me hard today, I am 48 and i have realized this is what I have been doing my whole life. I have my love in the wrong order. I could really use this and help me change my thinking but I can’t afford them. I have a 10 and 12 year old I don’t want them to get to 48 and realize that that’s not how to love. Thanks<3

  32. A friend sent me this today. She knew I spent my weekend curled up in a ball in bed feeling angry and pleading for love. I’m married. 2 kids. Still feeling unloved. Mostly by God. She said she would pray for me but dejected I said “don’t bother, God doesn’t hear prayers about me”. I’m guarded. I don’t want to put myself out there just to be rejected by God too. Last night, I was praying and asking God for forgiveness for my attitude and I suddenly had this picture in my head of Jesus ushering me into the presence of God and He said “I made a way”. The picture of Jesus and God together waiting for me was so bright I couldn’t look right at God but I could see his white robe and his hands outstretched reaching for me. Waiting for me to come to Him just like a dad waiting for his little girl to run to his arms. I stayed in the doorway just taking it all in. I didn’t move towards Him but I felt His acceptance and His forgiveness and His patience with me. I woke up still feeling guarded but pondering this personal invitation and asking myself why I refuse to accept it. Why I question. What it means. I never question if God is real or that Jesus died for us just if it is real for me. I know it’s crazy but it’s what is in my head. My friend is the one who sent this post to me. It feels good to share what I’m going though,hopefully no one will judge.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Debra, thank you so very much for being vulnerable. Perfect unconditional love is so opposite what we have seen and experienced; it’s hard to soak it in. God is patient, loving and full of grace toward us! Say “yes” to what you can and as you say yes a little bit each day, it will open the door for God to work deeper and deeper in your heart. He can and will fill your love gap completely!

    2. I said a prayer for you that God will remove whatever obstacles you face so that you can be close to Him. Give your trust to Him and He’ll show you the way.

  33. I want so badly for my 13 year old to hear that her Heavenly Father( Abba) loves her and that He is all she needs. I am having the hardest time getting her to see that. We are facing so very serious and scary times but I keep praying that God will see us through. Thanks for all you do, God’s light shines through you!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Amy Jo, It is so hard for them to grasp a concept that is so deep especially when all around them the message is just the opposite. Keep pouring in the truth, day after day. God will take care to water it so that it grows!

  34. Megan Reddy says:

    I have been married for 20 years and have learned that a husband can not meet our deepest need or desire and isn’t even equipped that way. Only God can meet our deepest longing and desire. Now I have two teen girls who need that lesson as well but hopefully it doesn’t take them years to discover that.
    I’m in…

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Megan, the great thing is we can pour this truth into the lives of our daughters early. They might not have it experientially, but the truth will be in their hearts for them to draw on at the right time!

  35. LaToshia Jarmon says:

    There are numerous things that battle for first in my life… my biggest struggle has been with food lately. But, I am learning and taking steps to God the love in my life back in order… beginning with God, my husband, and kids.


    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      You are going to win, friend!

  36. Deborah Henry says:

    this really spoke to me who am I truly putting first in my life. I pray daily for all the teen girls that I have the honor and privilege of being a mentor. I also want my granddaughter to know that she will never have that satisfaction that all girls are looking for through a boyfriend until that have Christ first and foremost in their lives.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Deborah, thank you so much for investing in teen girls! They so need us to teach them early what we are just learning today!

  37. Ruth Worth says:

    I am so in–I need this to get my life back on track

  38. To be brutally honest with myself (and you) I admit that the love of myself shares first place in my heart with God. I feel like I’m always pouring out of me to everyone else that I need to replenish with things instead of allowing God to replenish me. Thank you for your ministry and this word of encouragement today. I needed to be reminded that God will honor me when I honor Him…first.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      He will honor you, Natalie and fill all our love spaces too!

  39. I’m a single mom. I just got out of a abusive relationship a year ago … but I still miss him! I know that God is the only one who can fill my heart and ease my loneliness!! Sometimes I let life overwhelm me though ….

    My daughter is 21and married, but they have been going through some very rough times. I know that she did not have the relationship with GOD that she needs, as do I. Please keep us in your prayers.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Jesus, thank you for working in Vicki’s heart and bringing her through the pathway of your healing. Teach her daughter to look to you and built the foundation of her life on You, Jesus. Send many into her life to show her Your love and grace. Amen

  40. I love that my husband is my best friend. This devotion has me thinking that maybe I go to him to share things with more than God. I need to encourage my tween and teen daughters to spend more time and focus on their relationship with God too. Establishing early on to make God your go to.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      You are so right, Kelley! Teaching our kids early to go to God first will make it the perfect habit!

  41. I lost the correct order of things with my daughter and my husband. I’ve always loved God but rarely has he been in his rightful place. Now, I’m learning to lean on him daily and learning to let Him fill me with his love.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Awesome, Stephanie!

  42. Putting God first in your love life is something I am trying to teach my 19 year old daughter right now. The man that she marries will need to love God first also! This is hard for her to get. It can cause so much trial in our lives and marriage when we are not united in God with our spouse. We don’t need that in addition to the daily trials we face here on this earth.

  43. I am struggling with this as I try to teach my two girls. Talk about HARD….One foot in front of the other and lots of praying…:)

  44. Beth Knavel says:

    This is a great message and I would love to share it with my 16 year old niece who lives with her single mother.

  45. I love this and the devotional e-mail that brought me to this. Love is something have been charged by the Spirit to study for almost 5 years now. I have found many Scriptures so I know a lot of how I should act to represent His love in a decent way. There is so much love in God! He created man and deposited His love in us, but He gave it to us as a choice to give to others or keep to ourselves. The great thing is, His love is so measureless and unending that if we give it, He will fill us overflowingly all over again. His Love is precious and is how He is identified. I am single and don’t make extra effort to seek a romantic relationship, but I think that’s because I fear heartbreak. Fear is what stops love, because perfect love casts out fear. Thank you for this article and confirming what the Spirit has been teaching me. I would love to have these books so I can study His Love and love more. There’s no way we can fully understand His Love because it fills every deep hurt in our heart, but I hope to make a difference wherever I go using the Gift of Love He so endlessly gave us all. Thanks again for confirming some of what I’ve learned already and expanding on what knowledge I try to apply with every breath. When you work out of love that’s when the greatest miracles happen. I know that love gives life. Such a good article!!

  46. I’m definitely ALL in!!! I’m currently going through this phase myself as a soon-to-be 43 year old woman. Divorce with two children now for four years. I’ve made quite a few mistakes in this dating season of my life and have come to realize I have given far too much of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually to others and haven’t truly given my ALL to the Lover of my soul! God deserves my best and I intend to work towards that!

  47. Roshan White says:

    Just last night I prayed to God to help me feel His presence as I am so often alone both physically and emotionally. Thank you for your devotional today; it was just what I needed.

  48. Kelly Bronnenberg says:

    I’m in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Nancy Trowbridge says:

    My husband! I have found myself I often more concerned about what he thinks of me than what GOD thinks of me. Wicking o. This…

  50. I’m in! Daily it is a battle to keep my heart and mind centered on God instead of the distractions that come. Sometimes it is people, sometimes it is a dream unfulfilled. But God is gentle and faithful in bringing me back to Him. Thank you for this reminder that no one but God can fill my heart completely.

  51. Deb Adams says:

    I’m in! I am still a work in progress. I also want to be a positive influence on the girls in my life. I need this.

  52. I’m in!!

    I’m going thru a divorce and keep looking for a man to fill the void….when Jesus spoke to me and told me He is the One who needs to fill this void, and that I need to get to this place before I can move forward. I have backslid several times, and now need the faith, trust, strength, and encouragement to go thru this time with God, and God alone.

  53. I would love to share your Godly wisdom with my 13 year old daughter. Her dad passed away about six months ago, and she has mentioned several times since that she wished she could talk to him about boy issues. I could use some guidance from someone on how to discuss these issues with her. Thanks.

  54. Mary-Margaret says:

    I struggle with this because I just love my husband and kids so much. It is truly hard for me to submit my true love to God and put that love first. I would also like to share this with a good friend who struggles being “single” when most of her friends are married and have children.

  55. Back again!! Love struggle? Performance. Helping others. Wow! That sounds weird!
    But I live to do things for others and I makes me feel good about myself when I make a
    Difference. God is doing a work in my

  56. I’M IN!!!

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge! You are a blessing to MANY!

  57. Elizabeth Elliott says:

    I am a freshman in college with a very committed boyfriend that I love very much. Being away from him makes me feel very lonely, and I know I get disappointed when I can’t see him as often as I would like. I know I am looking to him to fill my needs instead of The One who can, but I don’t know how to seek and experience His love. I believe your resources would help me.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Elizabeth, loneliness is so hard! The great thing about Christ is because He is not human, His love can transcend and reach us when we are “all alone”. His Spirit connects with us in a way no human can. As scripture says, He is the great comforter. I was in your same situation; left home and left my boyfriend behind. It ended up being the best time of my life when I could focus 100% of my attention on my King!

  58. Virginia Walter says:

    I am learning, finally, that I have had my love order wrong. I have put the love I have for my husband first, not God’s, and now we are getting divorced…
    Thank you for your devotion.

  59. nancys1128 says:

    I’m in! Already having the books myself, this would be the perfect opportunity to get a spare set to pass on to the right person at the right time.

  60. I’m in:) I have a good friend at work who is without The Lord. She had been in a long term relationship with a man who has been terrible to her. When he gets upset with her & their relationship, he kicks her out of their home. She is devastated with not even a place to live! I have shared the Lord with her & tried to explain that no man can fill her up nor give her satisfaction. She needs The Lord! These books, with this message, would really be an amazing opportunity for a revelation in this young woman’s life!

  61. I’m in 🙂 thank you for today’s post. so simple but SO powerful

  62. I grew up in church and was never really told that my longing would only be satisfied with God. Needless to say, I grew up thinking I was not complete until I married. So thankful for your insight, Lynn, and would love to be able to teach my 12 year old daughter that no one can fill the love gap but Jesus!

    Thank you and many blessings to you!

  63. Tremendous devotion, Lynn! SO powerful! If I received a copy of your book, I would give it to my daughter, Lauren, who is away at college.

  64. I’m in… Thank you for this timely message. It is the key that I keep needing to understand.

  65. Jessica F says:

    Thank you for this devotional. I struggle with putting God before my husband and He is certainly teaching me that HE comes above all. Would love your book to begin teaching my almost 11 year old daughter that God is first always. Thank you, I am in.

  66. This is so important – ONLY Jesus can meet our deepest needs and longings. I needed this – Thank you!

  67. Cheryl Van Farowe says:

    Thank you for this devotion! If I received your book, I would use it help teach my daughters that only God can fill their love gap. I am in!

  68. Thank you for this story and scriptures. I recently asked God, “why did you bring me the desire of my heart if you don’t want me to be with the desire of my heart?” I waited a long time for him and he waited a long time for me as well. God’s hand was even in our reuniting. But it is not to be right now. Thank you for the refreshing reminder to put God’s love first in the midst of my grief.

  69. I often put comfort or acceptance above God. I continue to work at putting Him above all else. I’m hoping to offer a study on His Revolutionary Love to the jr. high girls in our church over the summer with my daughter. It is my burning desire that my girls learn to love Him above all else!

  70. Nicci Ramirez says:

    🙁 Too many to list! 🙁
    I’m In!!!

  71. Deanna Moore says:

    Thank you for sharing that with me this morning that was a perfect illustration of the way I have been looking for love in the wrong places and even though I was blessed with a husband I need to return to my first love.

  72. I’m in! I wish I would have had the understanding of this when I was a teenager. Now I have a teen daughter and need any help I can get in showing her how true this is!

  73. I’m in!! I’ve got a group of 8th grade girls that I would love to share this with!! 😀

  74. Would love to have these resources to share with my teenage daughter during her high school and college years!

  75. I’m in! I would love to give this to my grand daughter who will be 13 in May! I am thankful that God allowed meet to meet a wonderful man who has allowed me to keep my focus on God and at the same time being helpful to others.

  76. d. cahill says:

    There’s a friend in 30’s who is desparately seeking new husband, above all else; spiritual longing is way below what she sees as her need. Would love to give her your study.
    So yes, I’m in.

  77. I’m in. For so many years I relied on others to satisfy my desires and make me happy but when I finally woke up and put God first in all things, I found true happiness with or without other people and He brought relationships to me. I praise God daily for His love and the relationship I have with Him.

  78. I still struggle with lots of things, especially behaving as though my relationship with God is first – not family, friends, fun, entertainment, etc. Today’s devotional really blessed me, and I have written the verses you shared on note cards to post in my bathroom. Thanks for sharing your experience and these spiritual truths.

  79. Thank you for those beautiful & important bible versus! I would like to give this to my daughter. I pray for her day & night. Nothing’s impossible with God & I need a miracle. I’m in!

  80. I’m in! My beautiful 12 year old niece so needs this message! Middle school has been rough and she is seeking to fill that need to be wanted with not very good choices. I’m praying that her eyes will be opened to the truth you shared so beautifully! Thank you!

  81. I struggled with this issue for a long time and I did not let God win the battle for my heart. Now I struggle with the fruits of rebellion as a consequence. I am the voice of experience and so far there is no happy ending to my story but I know that God is with me and will not forsake me.

  82. andrea stanley says:

    I often find that I put my family first, but then I struggle because I am trying to do so many things without the help off God. When I start my day and fill myself with HIS word the day goes so much better.I would love to share this resource with my daughters. Thanks for sharing!

  83. I have been watching a single mom struggle with a relationship with a man that does not know the Lord. This relationship has detoured her from her walk with Christ that she began just a few years ago. She knows it is not a healthy relationship and one that has been detrimental to her personal relationship with the Lord. But because of her love for this man and his young daughter she wants so much for him to have the joy and peace she found when she first accepted Christ. At this time he does not have God in his life. So until the time that he has Christ as his personal savior, I have told her she must let him go. God must have that #1 spot in her life always. She knows it but it is so hard for her to let go. I would Love to share your books with her. I’m in.

  84. Debra Highland says:

    I’m in! I would love to share this with my 20 year old daughter.

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