I think every Christian would like to believe that Jesus is ‘before anyone or anything else’. For some, I am sure they can proclaim with bold confidence that He is – He is number one, but for others, like me, we battle daily for who gets that throne, who is the One that gets that seat of Lordship in our hearts.
I’ve been a believer for most of my life, but as the gospel plainly reveals, “even the demons believe and tremble.” So lesson numero one, belief alone does not secure relationship and relationship is the ONLY WAY Jesus will get preeminence. And there in lies the great mystery revealed, however deep our relationship is with Jesus will always determine when and if He is BAE.
I believe we can fake it, we can convince the world that we follow Jesus supremely. We can quote all the great quotes, we can even know the right verses to attach to every struggle and victory, but Jesus knows our hearts, and He sees when we are faking it with our pseudo christianity. I’ve played the “Im spiritually mature, look at me” game plenty in my life. Its nonsense. We live this christian life unto Him, our audience of one, and if we want to make Him number one, we have a part in that significant goal to play.
A big fat lie that I’ve often believed is that I can do all things through Diane who gives me strength. I’ve battled pride at times, and still do of course. There’s the obvious pride that I am self-sufficient and that I can handle almost all that comes my way, and then there’s the twisted pride that I am not worthy to receive His aid and therefore I need to pull myself up by my bootstraps and figure it out. (I never really got that expression, but you get me) Either pride, the regular kind or the twisted, will keep me (and you) from that deep relationship that allows Him to have His place of first in my heart, mind and life.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5 NIV
Believing this truth will be the very thing that deepens our relationship with Him. Our heart beats and breathes breathed in and out are all because He is allowing the blood to pump through our veins and make it to our hearts, and He is allowing the expanding and deflating of our lungs. He gives our bodies permission to work. I’m not trying to give us a biology lesson here, just trying to drive home that fact that we rely upon Him for everything.
Along with believing that He is our source for all things and that we need to maintain a thriving relationship with Him, we also need to heed His warnings. I wish I was more attentive to His warnings. I’m a learn it the hard way kind of girl, my way first – fail – then His. I haven’t always been obedient to the 10 commandments, to have no other gods before Him. As soon as I give my heart, head, and love to the other god (which can be soooo many things), He is no longer my first.
It’s an easy shift for me, sad to admit, but I can scroll a feed and in 10 mins or less have my affections set pretty high and on all things selfish, self-centered, self-improvement, self indulging. I take it to the unhealthy level far to often. I like clothes, I like makeup, I love house decor…nothing wrong with those delights, until they shift into the priority that supersedes Jesus. It’s a scale that I tip easily. There is a discipline that needs to take place for each of us when we know our weaknesses…because what is ok for Suzi to indulge in, is not ok for me, and vice versa. We are made uniquely, not all of our pitfalls are the same, so we have to know our triggers, know our danger zones and steer clear of them or use caution when indulging and know our limits. That is IF we want Jesus to be first. Confession, there are times in my life I just don’t seem to care if He is first, because I get comfortable, I get lukewarm in my Christianity, I get complacent and if I am dead honest, far to many other temporal cares get invited in (by me) and my heart becomes hardened against that which is eternal. Can you relate?
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
I believe that seemingly innocent indulgences can harden us to that which is eternal. Satan is smart, he knows how to utilize what can appear as innocent, “normal” avenues to lure us away…he doesn’t usually show up with his pitch fork and invite us to an exorcism. Instead, he uses the everyday normal vices – television, social media, magazines, Hollywood, radio, etc…all the every day seemingly normal activities to get us cold to the things that really matter.
So am I saying become a monk and escape it all?
No, but i am saying in my 50 years of living, I’ve learned that you can’t ride two horses with one rear-end. I can’t live with one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom. And when I say one foot in the world, I’m not even talking about hanging out in the bars or working on the sly as a pole dancer. Much of my adult married with kids life has been lived straight-laced and conservative, but my love and hearts dedication given to any other thing other than Jesus is called living with a foot in the world! It’s all about our hearts, and mine is far to often torn with wanting to love God supremely and keep Him first with loving the things of this world that make me comfortable and feed my flesh and make me short-term happy. So yes ladies, it’s the same as pole dancing and bar hopping, we just fool ourselves and say we are ok with our coveting and discontented lives, those are just little sins…everyone is guilty of the ‘little sins’. Says who? Jesus doesn’t say that, and those sins we call ‘little’ are wreaking all kinds of havoc on our hearts allegiance to Jesus and often times affecting those around us as well.
So the answer? I get up every morning ready to wage war. I try to start off my day getting my mind focused on Him, on the things that matter to Him. I then make choices throughout my day that are going to either keep that rhythm going of focusing on Him and His heart for this world. If I don’t intentionally make take these first steps, I know I’m going to shift that focus and make it be about what I want to feed. It is that black or white for me. I succeed, I fail, I start over again. His mercies are new every morning. And His grace is that beautiful unearned, unmerited favor.
But I do want to be conscious to not abuse His grace or use His unconditional love as a reason to not try my darndest everyday to make Jesus my BAE. Because while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. His death brought me life, both earthly and eternal life. And for that not so simple act, I owe Him my hearts allegiance – and its a lot of work beating my flesh to be able to give it to Him, but work to say no to me and yes to Him is the work I owe Him and the work He wants to empower me to be able to do. It’s never been easy, and I expect it never will be easy, but I hope and pray I never give up on the pursuit of making Him first. Jesus, please be BAE on the throne of my heart where You belong. The song of my heart is to live where no rival thrones survive and I serve only Him. I think this New Year may be a call for many of us, me leading the way, to some serious repenting and turning of our hearts BACK to Jesus fully…putting down our phones and all the other things that compete with Jesus and living our best lives consecrated to Him and choosing to obey that which He has called us to.
Jesus is BAE 2018!
>Diane Huntsman || @pilgrimspassingthrough