“First Things First” (Andrew Parfitt)

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Reference: Matthew 6 v 19-34

First Things First
Reading: Matthew 6:19-34
As Christians we seek to honour God with our lifestyle and activities. We try to be caring and kind to others, to serve our community and be good citizens, to promote family life, to live morally and in the workplace to be people of integrity. We enjoy one another’s company and actually have some fun!
But we are not alone in all this. Many people around us, of other faiths and none, do the same. So, although these things should characterise us they do not in themselves define us. In fact, if that is all we do then we turn our churches into social clubs rather than temples of the living God.
Here, then, are some of the things that make us fundamentally different.
• We have a relationship with God. We have been born again, Jesus lives in us and our walk with Him is an absolute priority. That is why worship, Bible reading, prayer and meeting together in His name are not add-on accessories but essential to our Christian lives.
• We live in the light of eternity. The world tries to squeeze us into its materialistic mould so that we define blessing in terms of financial prosperity, physical health and long life. But nothing is more important than recognising that our greatest blessings are spiritual and that we are destined for heaven.
• We depend on the Holy Spirit. Success in this world is usually the result of our natural abilities, acquired skills, hard work – and sometimes a bit of luck! Christians, however, look to God for strength, guidance, and the power to live victoriously whatever the circumstances.
• We have a message to proclaim. Social action may help us to relate to people, but the gospel is good news as well as good deeds. They will not in some mysterious way understand that Jesus is the Son of God, and that they need to put their faith in Him for salvation, unless we tell them.
• We put God first. We live for Him, not ‘me, myself and I’. It’s worth asking ourselves the searching question, ‘In what ways do I actually prove that Jesus Christ has first place in my life?’ C.T. Studd, who gave up an England cricketing career and a substantial fortune to go as a missionary to China, said: ‘If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.’
Such a distinctive, spiritual way of life is not just for ‘keen Christians’, but is necessary and normal for all who follow Jesus Christ.
Andrew Parfitt

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