Who’s on First?

As a Christian, we’re constantly warring between two sides of ourselves – the unrepentant flesh and the redeemed new creation. This war manifests itself in many aspects of our lives as the flesh tries to regain dominance, something which ultimately will never happen, in manners such as a temptation to lust or envy, or an urging to sin in some particular manner. No manner of temptation or urging to sin, however, can compare with the subtlety and destructive power of putting oneself first.

“Thou shalt have no other god before Me”

This is the first commandment and it is often the one most broken. I know in my life, the manner in which I hold my ideal priorities is

  1. God
  2. Family/My fiancee
  3. Work
  4. Myself

Yet so often I find myself slipping gradually into a cycle of, quite literally, reversing that list. I become most important, followed by my work, etc. In doing so, everything becomes about me – what I want to do, how I support my wants, who I use to get what I want, etc. This is a complete inversion and misapplication of my life.

Rather than myself, God should be first. My relationships should bring Him glory, not me my “needs”. My work should further His goals, or allow me to do so, not feeding my material wants. My person and actions should be glorifying to God and edifying to His body, the Church, not satiating myself with my own desires.

Church, can you see the danger of this gradual slide. This transition from God to self as the number one priority in each of our lives can and will render us inert, insular, and isolated, not moving, growing, and spreading the Gospel with those we interact with. This is exactly what Satan wants, to nullify the effect Christ has on us and, through us, the world and, by allowing ourselves to give in to this subtle reversal, we are playing right into his hands.

So, I ask you right now, where do your priorities lie? Are they where they need to be or have you, like myself and so many others, allowed your focus to be shifted towards yourself?

A current medical school applicant, James grew up on the missions field in Cape Town, South Africa. He graduated from Liberty University in May 2014 and is seeking, ultimately, to serve as a missionary doctor.  Read more from James at Third Culture Musings.