Does Jesus really come first in your life?

Does Jesus really come first in your life?

If you ask any Christian what the order of priorities is in their life, they will probably reply that Jesus comes first. Then family, then work, then everything else. It sounds like the right answer. It is easy to say and perhaps we will sound kind of virtuous when we do say it. But is it true?

The parables of Matthew 13 are always confronting, however often you have read them. The two short parables that help us today are these:

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

These are clearly related, and the main point in each of them is simple. The kingdom of heaven is worth so much that it is a fair swap to sell all we have in order to get it. It is that valuable and important. Most Christians would happily say ‘Amen’ to this.

But look a little closer and think a little deeper. Each man thought the treasure was so valuable that he sold everything else to get it. Do you have anything that valuable in your life? I have some things precious to me, but I don’t know if I would be prepared to give up everything else to get them. That sounds kind of extreme.

And when they sold all they had, they did it with joy. With joy! Not dragging their feet, not counting the great cost of losing all the rest of their possessions. They did it with joy. They were very happy that they had made a good trade.

Christian history is full of people who have done something like this. Some have turned their back on family money due to their faith. Others have left promising careers to serve in ministry. Countless others have devoted their spare time and money they would otherwise have spent on themselves towards the growth of the kingdom.

So how are you going with this? There are two ways to approach this question:

  • If your life was audited, would there be evidence that Jesus was important to you? If someone had access to how you spent your time and your money, what would they conclude? A visit to a church service most weeks doesn’t quite fit the parables of Matthew 13. Surely full devotion to the kingdom of heaven is more than that! Does the Bible feature heavily in a typical week? How about prayer? How about giving to gospel work? How about conversations with family and friends about Jesus? We should be honest with ourselves here. Saying Jesus is first in our lives too often doesn’t mean that in reality. Too many Christians live just like our neighbours in too many ways.
  • The other approach is what I am coining the Marie Kondo approach. What sparks joy in you? What bring you joy and satisfaction? What are you excited about? I do pray it is more than the Japanese art of tidying up. The men who sold all they had weren’t sad about what they lost but overjoyed at what they found. If church is always a burden and what really sparks joy is football or money, something is wrong. Serving Jesus is hard work, but it is what we are meant to do, and there is great blessing in it. If you only see church and Bible reading as a burden and not a joy, pray about it. Get back into it if you’ve dropped your service. Remind yourself of the blessing of being in the kingdom.

We want to be consistent with our faith and live, not hypocrites. If you say Jesus is first in your life, take steps to make sure that this is actually true.