If Not First – Then Last

While driving, I saw a familiar quote on a license plate frame of the car in front of me. The quote said, “If you’re not first, then you’re last.” That phrase reminded me of how we live in a culture that teaches us to be winners; no one wants to come in second, no one wants to be a LOSER. Just look around as we strive to live in the fancy ZIP codes, to have the latest fashions, to get the best plastic surgery, we want the best fitness coach, and we must have the highest-paying jobs, and let us not forget the flashy cars. All of these toys and amusements, which have become glamorous and fun continue to see demand for them go up and often with a hefty price tag attached.

We live in a generation where apathy is the norm, not the exception. We are known for our addiction to video games, lack of interest, and irresponsibility. It is not my intent to be harsh or condescending. I am speaking to myself as much as I am anyone else reading this post. I believe our generation is lost and missing out on greatness. There is not a person on the planet who does not agree there is something terribly wrong with us. As I look around at our human condition, I cannot help but see our common need, one that binds us together, the need to belong. We share a common need to love someone or something, and be able to express love, to share love, and to be loved in return.

Life is not easy for the generation of today. There’s too little time and too many tasks There are so many things that clamor for our attention and devotion: our jobs, our kids, our spouses, our hobbies—and all the other demands and distractions of the world. Another challenge we have to confront is living in a world full of humanism and people not wanting anyone to be above them, to go in front of them, or to interfere with their lives and routines especially God. 2 Corinthians 6:17 …” come out from among them, and separate yourselves…” When we refuse to honor God and follow His Truth, His Wisdom in our decisions, it causes us to become bogged down with worry, resentment and bitterness for ourselves and toward one another. Eventually, it shows up as sickness and disease in the hearts, and minds of our bodies. This behavior further manifests itself causes a decline in our moral and ethical standards and attitudes. It seems we have an epidemic of selfishness and entitlement in our world today, and this creates all kinds of unhealthy situations, just look around you, look at or listen to any media or social media stream.

If asked of the priorities in their life most Christians would instinctively tell you God is first and family second. Although declaring it is great, a simple proclamation does not make it true. If God were first in the lives of all who proclaimed to know Him, our world would not be in the mess it is today. Also, if God were truly first place in our lives and family second priority, we would not find the divorce rate among Christians to be nearly statistically equal to that of non-Christians. We are educated on what we’re supposed to say, but there is an absolute disconnect between our lips and our reality.

Placing something or someone first does not happen by accident, and making God first will not just happen; it takes constant discipline to determine to live your life in a manner different from everyone else. But it goes way beyond discipline; it takes an authentic, burning love, and relentless desire for Jesus Christ. If we don’t truly love Him, we will never live our lives for Him. Jesus must be more than a good idea, a periodic thought or a socially responsible position for us among our peers. Living for God means being willing to sacrifice everything in order to give our allegiance to His Son. If Jesus isn’t Lord of your life, it should go without saying that God cannot be first in your life. Putting God first in our lives means that all things will change. No longer will we behave like everyone else; we will be different. This may cause some awkward moments and uncomfortable tension between you, family, friends, and peers, but this is what is required to follow Jesus.

We must stop lying to ourselves. If Jesus is truly the Lord of our life, we will put aside all those things in which we previously found temporal pleasure and satisfaction. Putting God first in our lives requires that our priorities become reoriented to Him. Our focus changes from our own selfish desires to Jesus, allowing Him to become everything we need. If you find your life looks the same or similar to the person next to you, it is you probably safe to say you are not putting God first in your life. If possessions, money, and social status are important to you, there is a high probability God is not. Whatever has our attention has us. Putting God first means doing it constantly, not just when it is convenient or when we know someone is looking. We cannot declare God to be first in our lives while continuing to live for ourselves. Jesus said: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” Matthew 10:37. Putting God first is the only way to have life -Luke 17:33.

God’s Peace!

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