And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Seeking Him First
Jesus told us that we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. That presumes that we are also to seek first the King of that kingdom, and that, of course, is Jesus (Matt. 6:33). This would mean to honor Christ in our hearts as being holy (1 Pet. 3:15a) and should motivate us to also live a life of holiness because obedience to Him shows we love Him (John 14:15). If He is first on our priority list in life, then that would also mean we would seek Him early in prayer before our day begins and also into the night (Isaiah 26:9; Psalm 63:6; 119:62). If the first thing we do is eat, then shower, and then head off to work, is He really our priority?
To Live Is Christ
Clearly, Paul saw living as to live for Christ and death as gain (Phil. 1:21) because if he died, he’d be with Christ the very next moment (2 Cor. 5:6). He battled in his mind whether to depart this life and be with Christ or to remain, and he was torn between these two, knowing that to be with Christ was far better (Phil. 1:23) because he was more willing to be with Christ than to remain on the Earth (2 Cor. 5:8), but he also realized that he still had work to do for the Lord. You could tell by Paul’s writing how much Christ was a priority in His life. For Paul, following Him meant to forsake his own self-interests. How very hard this is I can tell you, and you can probably tell me. It’s hard to die to the self, but Jesus tells all who would follow Him that they must die to their own desires, their own interests, their own life and take up His cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34-35). If we are so busy with our own lives, we can’t possibly do that.
Crucifying the Self
Just as Jesus died for our sins on the cross, we must die to ourselves, take up our own life and lay it down for Him, and crucify the old life that we used to live (Gal. 5:24). This means that we ought to walk in Him (Col. 2:6), and if we walk with Him, He’s going to abide in us (John 15:5). As He lay down His physical life for us, we ought to want to lay down our life for Him because there is no greater love than this (John 15:13). To lay down our life is to lay down our own desires, wants, passions, and pursuits for those things that He would have us do and to seek to please Him by obeying Him. This is why we ought to take a close look at our lives to see if we are really in the faith and to see if Jesus is really in us (2 Cor. 13:5). In this way, we can really see where Jesus falls on our priorities list.
A Closing Prayer
God, I know I fall so far short of putting you first, seeking you first, and following you first in my day, so help me by Your Spirit and show me how I might better do that so that I can seek You and Your Kingdom and the righteousness of Christ first and foremost. In Jesus’ precious name I pray.
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