Pursue Jesus and love Him first. That’s been on my mind the past few weeks, as I run the concept over and over in my head, trying to more fully grasp what it means, what it looks like, why it’s important.
And finally, after struggling for so long to piece together my view of the world with my view of God, I came to a realization that left me breathless, head spinning, but for the first time in my life finally understanding.
Why can’t we can’t afford to put anyone other than Jesus as the first in our minds, as the reason we do everything we do? Because only He satisfies.
Only He can satisfy the longing for peace in my heart, only He can fulfill my ache for something more in this life. Only He can give me the joy, the hope, and love that my soul craves so desperately.
I’ll be totally honest here. Over the years, I’ve let people take up too much space in my mind. Whether it was a crush, a best friend, or even just a new person I met, it’s always been too easy for me to let my mind be occupied with one, fallen human being. To let them take precedence over my thoughts of God because they seem so much more exciting than something that happened 2,000 years ago.
That’s a significant part of my warped view right there: in my mind, a new friend or captivating Netflix show was more relevant to my life than my Savior.
Once I stopped seeing His grace as a one-time historical event, and instead, as something guiding me every day of my life, my perspective on life radically changed.
I learned to authentically love Jesus for the Savior and Friend He was to me on every single day of the year. Not on just the good days, but the bad ones especially; I started accepting the grace He so freely gave me and living a life in celebration of that.
We’ll often hear these writers and leaders say we need to destroy our idols, to burn them to the ground and remove them from our lives, because we can’t worship God and someone else too.
And sure, that’s true and fair; no one can serve two masters. But we’re skipping a significant part of this conversation – the part where we realize that placing anyone or anything above God is selling ourselves short of the satisfaction and joy that He alone brings. The joy that comes from being up close and personal with His grace, seeing tangibly how it frees us from condemnation, and guilt, and shame.
Netflix can’t clear a conscience, that latest bestseller can’t take away the problems it lets you ‘escape’ from, and no amount of parties or relationships or drinks on a Friday night can free any of us from the unavoidable pain that comes along with the lives we all live.
That’s where Jesus comes in. He is not and can never be just something to do on Sunday mornings, someone to pray to before taking finals or while trying to find a place to park. And yet, so often, we treat Him as such – optional spirituality that we add onto our ‘real’ lives. Something that gets in the way of more important things.
And when we view Him as such, we are DEAD WRONG.
It’s never supposed to be a chore to love God, an obligation to delight in His grace, a duty to find joy in His presence. Never ever. And yet, when we let someone or something become such an obsession that we lose sight of the magnificence and significance of our faith, we’re missing out on the endless and consistent satisfaction that comes from knowing Christ.
His grace needs to be a blessing, His peace a gift, His love unmerited favor in our lives to fill us, renew us, sustain us, motivate us. When we forget that grace is for our everyday life, and instead see Jesus merely as the One that lived and died two millennia ago so we could go to Heaven when we eventually die, we miss out on the beautiful life we can have when we see His grace for what it is – something that meets us exactly where we are and fulfills the deepest longings of our hearts.
Grace meets us in the place we’re at and gives us a purpose, a reason to live.
The grace that God so generously gave us through His Son on the cross.
Yes, that grace. The grace that is so often interpreted as just another part of religious history, overlooked as the very thing that saved our souls and gave us life now and forever.
We must never lose sight of the significance of His love, His sacrifice, His death – and His resurrection.
Jesus died to give us life, and rose to give us hope. Hope that this isn’t the end – that as incredible as our relationship with God can be now, it’ll be infinitely more beautiful in Heaven as we dwell with Him someday.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. May we pursue Him, and love Him first. May He be our reason to live, His glory our aim in this life, His grace our motivation.
For He is worthy. The only one that will ever fill us with joy, and hope, and true purpose in this life. And we are so incredibly loved by Him.