“In Christ alone, my hope is found, he is my light, my strength, my soul.” The camp speaker preached last night on Luke 8, the Parable of the Sower. He considered the seed or the Word of God. He consider the four places the seed lands: the path, the rock, the thorns, and the good soil. In my own life the most compelling portion of the message was his treatment of the seed among the thorns. He said, many “have invited Jesus in to sit among their other gods.”
This is a statement worth considering. We are historically a monotheistic (one God) society, so to talk of multiple gods in our own lives is a bit of a foreign concept. We just don’t think of things that we love as gods, but rather as things we love. So I think, for our purposes, the question might best be asked, “have you invited Jesus to sit among the other things you love?” In the parable, the seed is scattered, the word of God is there, but it grows and as it grows, so do these thorns, representing the things of this world.
Last night I challenged our students to make a list of things they love. Here I will do the same exercise:
- My family.
- My friends.
- My ministry.
- My job.
- My house and many of my things.
- Apple products.
- My instruments.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but you get the idea. The really funny thing is that after I got to number 3, I realized I was typing “my” in front of everything I was listing. Even though I caught it I decided to leave it. The irony is that I’m writing a blog on putting Christ first and then listing the things I love as “MY”… MINE… belonging to me. It is so easy for each of us to slip in the me, mine, my mentality and for us to make Jesus one of the many things that we love.
You can come to church, you can sing in the choir, you can teach a Bible study class, you can volunteer with VBS, and go on a mission trip and still have Jesus as one among many. I know, because I’ve done it…I do it. I see people every week who are more concerned with whose singing, where things are on the stage, how things are decorated, what style of music we’re playing, and what Bro. Charles is preaching on than spending time worshipping and amazing, loving, generous God. It is a constant battle to place Christ alone first in your life. We need to gather around one another and help each other in this. I know I need help. I know you need help.
Jesus has to be our LORD and our SAVIOR to walk as believers. He has to have moved in our hearts and redeemed us from the sin we have committed AND he has to be Lord, the one who rules and reigns in our hearts. People for whom he is Lord by not savior are bound by the law, shackled to empty religion. People for who he is Savior and not lord have empty religion. They believe but do not do, their faith (according to James) is meaningless.