“For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16-17
For someone who doesn’t realize that God is working out His perfect plan, the above passage may be a bit of a shock—and perhaps a tough pill to swallow. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers? Really?
Those of us who follow the world news every day on cable television are appalled at the horrific activities of certain “thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers”. Were I not saved by God’s grace and immersed in His Word, I would be clueless as to the promise of triumphant resolution assured by the fact that “He is before all things, and by Him all things consist”.
The sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ is further clarified in Colossians 1:18-19: “And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him (Christ) should all fullness dwell.”
Preeminence in ALL THINGS! Those wonderful, freeing words ring in my head whenever I hear someone talking about “putting Jesus first”. I think I understand what is meant by “putting Jesus first”—at least I hope this means recognizing God’s sovereignty over every area of our lives. But I would so much rather hear the Scriptural declaration, that He Who is the firstborn has preeminence over every detail of the body, the church—meaning all those of us who have followed Him in His death, burial, and resurrection, and are born again for eternity.
I have an issue with the term “putting Jesus first” because there cannot be a “first” unless it is followed by at least a second—and perhaps a third, fourth, etc. It simply cannot be. You know that if you are making an outline, a number one tells us that there is going to be at least a number two. Otherwise the number one is incorrect, misleading, and irrelevant. Saying that Jesus is number one implies that there are other numbers, or areas of life where Jesus isn’t present. How scary is that!
When critically thinking to its logical conclusion the “putting Jesus first” concept as opposed to His sovereignty in every detail of life, we run into the abject confusion of “Christian and non-Christian activities”. The “Jesus is number one” individual may naively think that going to church, passing out Gospel tracts, or singing a hymn is “more spiritual” than weeding the garden or attempting to perfect a Chopin Nocturne on the piano—in the life of an individual who celebrates the preeminence of Christ. What a potentially depressing concept. How contradictory to the truth that our Lord is preeminent in all things!
There can be no numbers one, two, etc. in the obedient, abundantly-lived Christian life. There can only be the Lord Jesus Christ. I am in Christ when I am reading Scripture and when I am struggling through Chopin’s compositions. I am in Christ when my body aches all over, and I am in Christ when I feel like the proverbial “million bucks”.
He is preeminent in all things. I am reminded of that glorious truth every day as I celebrate His life in the works He has foreordained for me—the responsibilities and joys of loving my family and the development of my God-given gifts. Although I am a sinner saved by Grace, and need the constant discipline of Scripture and prayer in order to focus on Him, Christ is to be Lord over every area of my life. As one of my most beloved teachers* has famously stated in her Ladies Bible Study of nearly fifty years (I’m paraphrasing) “In Christ, scrubbing a toilet is spiritual”.
When we are focused on Christ we do not find routine labors to be offensive or boring. These labors are a part of our mission field and they are valid, essential, and glorifying to God. And the development of natural gifts—arts, crafts, and/or technical skills—is also a response to Ephesians 2:10. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”, even when we pursue the development of a gift solely for the reason that God gave us the desire to mirror His creativity in the tiniest way simply for our own enjoyment—and hopefully for the enjoyment of others around us.
Just as God put incredibly beautiful flowers on remote mountains and colorful, exotic fish in the ocean depths—mainly to be viewed and appreciated only by Him—He has given the “flowers and fish” of human creativity to individuals who long to reflect a glimpse of His beauty, because they love their Lord.
Rather than being “number one” in my life, the Lord Jesus Christ is my life. He is wonderful, magnificent, and eternally PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS!
*The Bible teacher referenced here is Judy Dalton, of APPLES OF GOLD MINISTRIES.
Margaret L. Been — April 4th, 2016