“You can’t get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first.” (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock)
Somebody called this obvious today. I wish it were.
Our response to the Gospel is ‘of course.’ And then we are off into things we are more interested in.
“I understand Jesus is my savior. Get on with it already,” where the “it” is usually behaviorism. Christian moralism. Pragmatism.
This idea has come out several times in my week. A parent who wishes the church would teach their child not to listen to country music. A spouse wanting a better listener at home. Talking to people who are making lists – actual lists – of behaviors they are working on to improve their relationships.
You can argue about the wisdom or acceptability of any of these desires. But the difficulty is that these are all second things. And well-intentioned people are not seeing the primacy of first things. They’re not saying — oh, how I wish my child would be passionate about Jesus Christ; oh, that my spouse would would be rejoicing in their union with Christ; oh, that my eyes might be filled with my Lord, that my desires might change.
What is incredibly important, crucial to every moment of every day that we are alive, is the first things. And that the first things are first.
Faith is the absolute trust in salvation by Christ alone, a gift of grace. Open eyes to this first thing impacts everything else. The second things flow out of them.
Practical concerns, pragmatic approaches, may be helpful. But not Christian, per se. And all second things, not first things.
What you listen to is tied to who you worship. Your relationship with your spouse is founded your understanding of your relationship to Jesus Christ. Behaviors are impacted by your gratitude at what he’s done… and gives you a heart to flee the world and follow your savior.
My heart is a bit heavy today, not because of a rebellious world choosing against God… but because of my own quickness, and the quickness of others in the church, to want second things without a depth of understanding that first things are first.
“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Not obvious. Emphatic, rather. And first.