Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Putting Jesus First in Our Lives

Matthew 16:24

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Most all of us would say we desire to follow after Jesus.  But have we asked ourselves – how much do I want to follow Jesus? The passage we are using for the current sermon series reminds us what should be the answer to our question about following Jesus.  We are to love Jesus with all we have and all that we are.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandments – He responded by quoting this passage from Deuteronomy.

Matthew 22:37-38 – 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”

So we need to ask ourselves – how much do we love us some Jesus!?  For instance, do we love Jesus more than our hobbies?  And how would we measure how much we love our hobbies verses how much we  love Jesus?

I was once told that if we wanted to know what we treasured – what we loved – we only needed to look as far as our checkbook.  Using that criteria – how do we spend our money?  Do we spend more on season tickets to our favorite team(s)’ games than we give to the work of the Lord?  Do we spend more on sport equipment – tee times/memberships – gym memberships – etc. – than we give to the work of the Lord?  For some – we have made our cars/trucks a hobby – in other words we do not have basic transportation – but rather a vehicle that meets some desire beyond our need.  Do we spend more on our vehicle a year than we give to God’s work in a year?  You could probably expand this list for sure.

How about our time?  Do we go out of our way to watch our favorite TV show or sports program each week but find reasons to skip worship or our daily devotions? (If we do both, which gets more time?)  Do we spend more time reading books and newspapers that are not of a spiritual nature than we do reading the Bible and other spiritual materials?  Would we make do with 3 hours of sleep the morning after a big game and go to work but would stay in bed on Sunday morning after a big night out?

I’m sure you get the point and can fill in several other examples in your life.  Jesus said – If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” How are we denying ourselves to follow Jesus?  How are we putting Christ first in our lives?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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September 10, 2010 - Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , ,

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