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COMING IN FIRST

Last week's blog focused on our spiritual marathon. As believers in Jesus, we are summoned to run the race God has marked out for us, encouraged by a host of heavenly witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-2). The competition we face is with spiritual "principalities, powers, darkness and hosts of wickedness" (Ephesians 6:12-20), spearheaded by the devil. Oh yes, the devil is real. The Bible and the teachings of Jesus confirm that fact.

All competitive events, actions, attitudes, effort and intentions are consumed by the desire of the competitor to come in first place. Those who compete want to be acknowledged as a top achiever and rewarded. Human nature demands our allegiance to the desire to be in charge of our own life. It wants us to put ourselves and our pleasures first. Human nature tells us to be answerable to no one, but ourselves, rejecting any authority over us. The end result of that allegiance is our purpose to come in first place; nothing else matters.

However, this is contrary to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. The Word of God is very clear and unmistakable. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says: "seek FIRST (caps added) the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. . . ." He did not invite us to consider doing that, rather, He commanded it! To seek or pursue first His Kingdom and righteousness means to realign our priorities to give Jesus first place in our lives. It means we have made a conscience decision to turn from self-centeredness to making Jesus the LORD of our lives, surrendering to His Lordship, His will, His purpose and His plan. It means to prioritize Jesus to occupy the first place over everything and everyone in our lives.

The words of Jesus for discipleship cut right through humanism and are frankly life-changing. He said in Luke 14:26: "If you want to be my disciple, you must, by COMPARISON (caps added), hate everyone - your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple." (New Living Translation) The question therefore is: Are we obedient to Jesus and placing Him in first place in our lives, conduct and activities?

One of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20:3 is: "You shall have no other gods before Me." And yet, so many of us have failed to prioritize our life to put Jesus first, above all else, in our lives. We have so many other "gods" and "idols".

What is vitally important to you - so important, that you give so much of your attention, time, energy, thoughts and daily practice to? Work, sports, smart phones, automobiles, money or commercialism, entertainment, surfing the internet, social media addiction, comfort, and sex are just some of the things that can be placed ahead of Jesus and His Kingdom. An idol is simply something or someone that is more important to us than God; valuing something or someone more than we value God. The value we place is determined by our actions, time and attitudes. It is when we allow anything to take the place of God as the most important focus and priority in our lives.

Do you agree with me that re-prioritizing our lives is absolutely needed by those who profess to know Jesus today? Let us not put this off ; one day it could well be too late to re-focus and experience the blessing and rewards of Jesus coming in FIRST!

How do we do that? Here are some practical ways: 1) Read and study the Bible daily, 2) practice a daily prayer life, 3) worship God with other believers in a local church in accordance with the teaching of Scripture (Hebrews 10:24-25). Some may say, "I don't think I need to go to worship with others in order to be a Christian". Perhaps, but here is my response: It does not matter what I think; it does matter what God has said! 4) share with others your faith in Christ, helping to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 18:18-20), 5) serve in His Kingdom ministry, and 6) ask the Holy Spirit to help you daily to submit to and obey God.

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About Me

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God has blessed me with a long and fruitful ministry! I have over 40 years in pastoral ministry, retreat speaking, Evangelism, teaching and Christian Radio broadcasting.

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