Gospel Grammar

Where is Jesus on Your List of Priorities?

Since I began publishing this series every Wednesday, I’ve received a lot of questions about Jesus through email. I’m in no way disappointed at all, but they haven’t been the kind of questions I anticipated receiving. I began writing this “One More” series, hoping to reach those who don’t recognize Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The response and interaction with the audience have been amazing. Somehow, I allowed the idea to slip in my head that I was going to reach individuals who didn’t know anything at all about Jesus or Christianity. I’ve almost been overwhelmed by interacting with those who’re reading. The people who take the time to email questions fit in a class of individuals I didn’t originally intend on reaching.

They know who Jesus is. Many of them are just as versed in Scripture as I am. They spent years of their life going to church every weekend, both Catholic and Protestant. However, no, they do not recognize Jesus as the Lord of their lives. Life’s happened. Things got tough. They obviously haven’t read much about my past because they somehow believe I wouldn’t understand.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to write about my past in this article. I’d like to stay as focused on the topic as much as I can. Instead, I’d like to address some of the questions I’ve received the last week. I’m going to be short and sweet here. After reading these emails, I have found almost every one of the individuals is exactly like I have been up until recently. I need to repeat that again. Exactly like me. I’m not judging. I’ve simply lived life until very recently that allows me to relate through the lessons I’ve learned. Like myself, there’s a lot of people who aren’t followers of Jesus. They haven’t followed Him. This is best presented with their own life and experiences. Not followers. We’ve been really good at being fans.

We want the rewards of being Christians. But, we’re unwilling to put Jesus where He belongs. Before all things. Before I go on, that’s the name of a series of sermons preached by Joby Martin at the Church of 1122 in Jacksonville, Florida. I haven’t spent time rewatching the sermons, but I encourage you to watch them. Joby is much better at this than I am. You can click on the underlined sentence to go directly to the link of sermons.

If you think what I’ve said is harsh, good. It is. And I’m guilty of it more than anyone else I know. For about two months now, there has been a ton of effort on my part to put Jesus before everything else in my life. I have a lot of work to do. Progress is being made though. I still need to learn how to put Jesus before everything else in my finances, my marriage, my role as a parent, how I act as an employee, student, son, friend, and a writer. Other than that, I’m good.

Like I mentioned, this has been important to me for about two months now. It’s still new to me. New enough that my failures still tear at my heart every night when I read Psalm 139:23 and 24 and begin journaling about my day. Normally, because I write about my own experiences, I can provide statements I know work when it comes to applying Scripture to daily life. Today, all I can do is share what I’m still practicing on a daily basis. As I said, the Holy Spirit is accomplishing things inside of me my wife has been praying about for years. That being said, her prayer list still grows on a daily basis concerning me. Before I get into the topic of Keeping Jesus at the top of our priorities, I’d like to share the text I’m using for this article.

Colossians 1:17-18        He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.

Become a follower.

Before I get into this, salvation is a free gift from Jesus Christ. There’s nothing to earn or prove to anyone. Faith is what’s needed. That being said, faith has to be backed by action. Period. The Bible uses the term “true faith” more than once. Too many of us forget that word true. I’ll ask it to you this way. When you’re with your friends, do you have to remind them you’re a Christian? Here’s a secret. When you become a follower instead of a fan, you don’t have to remind people Jesus is important to you. They already know by the way you act,.

Jesus has to become before all things. We don’t follow Jesus on our knees while praying when we wake up or before we go to sleep. He’s first in everything. Regardless of what we’re doing or where we’re at and who’s watching, Jesus is before all things. Jesus doesn’t need you to prove anything to Him. That being said, show Him that He’s important to you.

True faith should bring about significant changes in your life. No, these don’t all happen overnight. Sanctification is a process, not an event. That being said, with true faith, the process of sanctification should be demonstrated in the way you live your daily life. Priorities will change. The unnatural becomes natural and vice versa. The Holy Spirit does the work of sanctification. That being said, are you working with Him or against Him?

Life is going to get hard.

I normally don’t like to do this, but I’m going to share another verse today. 2 Timothy 3:12. “Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be prosecuted.” Here’s the catch to this. No, this doesn’t happen to fans. But, if you’re a follower, if Jesus is truly the Lord of your life and before all things, life will not be easy. Period.

You’re going to face more issues than I could ever list. Here’s a few and unlike earlier, I’m not trying to be harsh. I’m simply referring to many of the emails I’ve received since starting this series. People are going to die. You and your spouse won’t always see eye to eye. The kids are going to be the sinners that they are. You might lose a job. Family will get sick. People are going to run their mouth because they don’t understand why Jesus is now so important to you. You’re going to lose friends.

And all of this is ok. The Bible tells us it’s going to happen. This isn’t an “if” verse. It’s a “when.” Don’t let what the Bible tells us is going to happen be what drives you away from the cross. Instead, use these times to grow closer to Jesus than you have ever been before. These things happen and we run from Jesus looking for comfort somewhere else. Jesus is the only peace and comfort that can ever provide what it is our hearts are looking for. We were created this way for a reason.

Drop your expectations.

Ok, I always save the most difficult for last. This is what requires the most effort for me. I know I know. The Bible is full of promises from God to His people. I hope each and every one of those promises come true in your life. A promise is a promise and God keeps His. However, were provided one guarantee with what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Salvation.

Stop expecting God to bless you, especially when you fit into more of the fan category than the follower. If Jesus has to provide you with more than He already has to keep your attention than something isn’t reaching your heart. I doubt you’re going to hear anything from me in this article that you haven’t already been told.

That being said, Jesus has already given you more than you’re ever going to need. Yes, I know. The rent’s due. Bills are piling up. He or she keeps breaking your heart. Your kids are going through this. Someone’s still sick. God’s nowhere to be found because you’re not looking for Him. You’re looking for a gift.

Join me in this battle I’m currently on. Put Jesus before everything else in your life. Contact me here and I’ll share with you on a daily basis what I’m doing and what is and isn’t working for me.

Stop expecting Jesus to show up and show off in your life. Yes, it’s going to happen. But, probably not in the way you’re expecting Him to. Put Jesus at the very top of your priority List. No, nothing’s going to change tomorrow. But, write yourself a letter that’s dated and put it away for six months.

Six months from now, I’d like you to be on our new podcast to share with the world exactly how Jesus has amazed you.

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