Let all things be loved for the sake of Jesus, but Jesus for His own sake.
These are the words of a celebrated believer from many centuries ago. They still ring true today. Why?
Because they help us to reconcile our value system, and to center it, protecting us from placing primary value on things, efforts or even others. The central value of our lives should be the Lord Himself, and all other things we value are valued for His sake, and in a way subjected to our love for Him.
For one, this protects us from idolatry… From spending our love and the focus of our lives in ways that devalue. There are many valid pursuits in life, many things that we can offer us an opportunity to contribute and serve in a meaningful way. However, if any of thes things begin to take first place, their real value begins to be lost.
God the Father gave us Jesus, as redeemer, as savior, and as friend, but also as the focal point of life. To make anything or anyone else the focal point of our lives devalues life itself. This understanding can help us understand why, in life, so much depravity and needless loss is rampant.
The headlong pursuit of vanity in our times is rising to new and unparalleled heights! That is not to say that it is something new. It isn't. But just because it isn't something new doesn't mean that we should not be vigilant against it's snares!
One thing to keep in mind is CS Lewis' famous encouragement.
For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.
We have needs, and we are created with those needs, by God Himself. This, itself, is undeniable. God is not denying this, and neither should we. In His wisdom, He has provided for the fulfillment of our needs in ways that don’t destroy us, even though, all around us, people are letting their needs and appetites drive them to destructive ends (both self destruction, and the destruction of others.)
If we will turn to Jesus, personally, we will not be denied. This is true, both in the sense of our initial turning, and in our continual turning. If you haven’t turned to Jesus, take courage to do so. If you have a history of turning to Jesus, don’t be discouraged… continue to turn to Him.
The thing that is impressed on me, this morning, is the value of the life that has been entrusted to us. We are given life, from the Lord, and what we cultivate with this opportunity reflects back on us, individually. Your contribution in this collaboration should not be overlooked or minimized.
What is the Lord leading you to do?
Should you take a moment and reflect on this?
Things, people and opportunities put false claims on our hearts when they vie for first place against the Lord. When we give something other first place, we undermine our own value, and also the value of what we idolize. This is a sure way, that, in deception, the enemy’s plan to leave everyone and everything worse off, is realized.