Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise The Lord Who Reigns Above"1 (Lyrics)
"I was here first!"
It starts so early! This exclamation often ended in some pushing and shoving. The effort to be first in line seems to go way back in my memory. It seemed that to be first in line was some kind of great achievement worthy of honour. When I was first to turn in school assignments or complete a test, I was proud. I've often been guilty of this as an adult in various situations. This pressure for quick and perfect performance can carry some pitfalls. Being first at everything can get attention and admiration from others. But this desire for supposed excellence can be self-deceiving. The sin of pride can so easily take hold, and we are tempted to elevate ourselves before others and before God. We may then assume that we should deserve commendation and never suffer humiliation or loss. We deceive ourselves. Remember our ancestor, Adam? He was the first man on earth, but also the first to disobey God by choosing to know good and evil. Have you ever stopped to consider Who was the first and also the last? Only one name should come to mind.
Job 38:4 – Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me if you understand. (NIV)
Near the end of the book of Job, God informed Job that He was the first to do everything perfectly. There is no room for anyone to assume that by attempting to live sinless lives it is possible to avoid the fact that we are part of Adam's race, stained with sin. And yet, here is an astounding truth! Christ came to earth as the second Adam, after being with God in the beginning.
John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (NIV)
And here is another "first". Jesus was the firstborn from among the dead, conquering death and sin, and bringing eternal life to all who believe in Him.
Colossians 1:16-18 – For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (NIV)
Let us daily call on the Spirit of God to alert us to selfish pride in our lives and to help us to avoid it.
Prayer: Our Father, Who created all things perfectly and Who made us righteous only by and through the obedience of Your Son, our Lord Jesus, our Alpha and Omega — the first and the last — forgive us for our sins of pride and for believing that we can elevate ourselves by striving for perfection by our own deeds. By the power of Your Spirit, help us always to put You first in our hearts. Amen.