Published by Jerry Baysinger on 02 Dec 2006 at 02:21 am
In Mark 10:29-31, it is written, “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.”
When I awoke the other day I had a picture fresh in my mind of standing in front of the mirror in my bathroom. There were items in front of me, like one, two, three, with number one being the closest to me, and three being the farthest. But in the mirror, I saw item number three closest, and me the farthest, just the reverse of what it actually was. And that scripture played in my head like a recording. The Lord was telling me something I needed to know and you need to know it too.
If you are saved, rewind your life to the day you were saved. What suddenly became first in your life? The Lord Jesus Christ, that’s what. If you remember that day, He became all-important, the very essence of life, in fact, the very purpose of your life, your very existence. That was first. Your priorities changed. Everything else was number two, literally, just like when Paul said in Philippians 3:8, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” You started telling others about your new-found Lord and Savior, Jesus. It probably wasn’t too long, though, before people told you to “calm down, you’ll be all right” and started pouring water on your fire. Here a little, there a little. And it’s impossible to put a finger on the exact time and date, but one day perhaps you noticed that telling people about Jesus was no longer your first priority. Maybe you never noticed it at all, but nonetheless it happened.
The devil uses that tactic on all of us. Jesus was no longer forefront, but on the “back burner”, so to speak. Yes, you still go to church, but somehow, that fire, that passion, that overwhelming love for everyone and everything since getting saved, that joy of life, is just not burning that brightly anymore. Welcome to the club. It’s called “The first shall be last”.
The once passionate love for Jesus has given way to “business as usual” and, as some call it, “real life”. Back to the same old unfulfilled feeling deep in your gut, something missing, and the joy is just not there like at first. Am I getting warm? Have I stirred up something you haven’t given much thought to lately?
Back at first with their walk with Jesus, most people would readily say, they would lay down everything for Jesus. If need be, they would walk away from friends, from parents, houses, lands, from anything that stood in the way of loving and putting Jesus first. And perhaps they did walk away from them. They walked away from sin, to become free for the first time in their life. They walked away from old destructive habits, made new Christian friends, started going to church. They started praying, and started earnestly studying the Bible, and growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. But gradually over time, it’s just not the same anymore. What happened?
Well, imagine, if you will, a newlywed couple. They are driving away from their wedding, the two happiest people on the face of the earth. He is driving, and she is sitting so close to him, that if she were any closer, she would be on his other side. Sound familiar? Fast forward that to twenty years down the line, assuming their marriage lasts that long. Now, he is sitting on one side of the car, she on the other. Someone moved. The passion has cooled. The romance faded. The kisses that would burn a hole through a concrete wall, and the longing looks that would sizzle the paint off your car have grown cool. Oh, you’re still together, but it’s just not the same anymore. There. Maybe that will put it in terms you understand. Now we can talk. Would you like that passion back with your mate?
Most importantly, would you like that “fire” back in your relationship with Jesus? It’s really easier that you think. When you dated your mate, you made them your priority. Remember? Come on, has it really been that long ago? Nothing got in the way of your time together. Yeah, I know, you have a job. You may have kids. You have responsibilities. Yeah, yeah, I know all that. And I also know, YOU HAVE A CHOICE! If you had a choice then, you have a choice now ! I guess the real issue, is what is your choice going to be?
No one is the Captain of your ship but you. You can blame the wind, you can blame the waves, you can blame the crew, but if your ship doesn’t go where you want it to go, you’re the Captain, you’re holding the steering wheel. It’s nobody’s fault but yours if you want to go to the Bahamas and you end up in Antarctica. That steering wheel on the ship is for something other than sticking donuts on the spokes of it. That wheel is there for the purpose of guiding you where you want to go. I guess that’s a little blunt, but when I look at my own life, and it isn’t what I want it to be, and that’s more than just once in a while, I have to cut through the fluff and put the blame really where it is. I make my choices, not someone else. So if my relationship with the Lord Jesus isn’t up front and personal, I know someone moved. And it wasn’t Jesus. And if my relationship with my wife isn’t all what I dreamed of, it’s my fault. My wife is still more than willing to be swept off her feet by her Prince Charming, just like old times, believe me.
There are so many people who won’t take responsibility for what they do, or the bad stuff that happens to them, because it’s always someone else’s fault. Murderers give the excuse, Well, it was the way I was raised, it’s not my fault. I just can’t help that the gun kept going off after I pulled the trigger six times. You need to sue the gun manufacturer, don’t blame me. A drunk driver will insist that tree just jumped right out of the woods in front of their car, and besides, it isn’t their fault they’re drunk. Their buddies got them drunk. A girl might say, I had to get an abortion because I got pregnant. I was just walking down the street minding my own business on the way to church and my clothes just jumped right off of me. I had nothing to do with it. Right. There is just no personal accountability these days. Everything is someone else’s fault. Well, the buck stops here.
Know something? Jesus could have said that on the cross. And it would have been the truth for Him. He was on the cross for someone else’s sins….yours, and MINE. If anyone ever had an excuse, it was Jesus. But you will notice He never gave one. Instead, He was as a sheep led to the slaughter, He kept His mouth shut, and took your punishment, my punishment, and the sins of the whole world, and never copped out. Why did Jesus do that? Could it be He loves you? He fulfilled His own words, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” The First, the God of Creation, became nothing, stripped himself of all His Godly power and authority, and came to earth as a man, a “last” on the totem-pole in the order of creation, in order to seek and save the lost sinners, you and me.
When we got saved, for example, we got a new job assignment. Yes, you may still be working at the office, but you were given a brand new title; Soul-winner. Jesus called us all to be “fishers of men”, remember? While that was real important back then, has it become less of a priority now? For Jesus, it was Priority One. If we are His, then it should be our Priority One as well, if we are to call ourselves “Christians”. In the case of the Disciples, Jesus told them He would make them to be “fishers of men”. That was first thing.
But after Jesus was crucified it became their last thing. They went back to being fishermen, back to their old job, the former things. Just like we tend to do, when things don’t go as we expected, and then we wonder why the power of God is not working in our lives. However, when the day of Pentecost was fully come, those remaining disciples, out of all those multitudes that followed Jesus, there were only about 120 who were assembled in the upper room, seeking God. The Holy Ghost fell upon them all and gave them power! What power? FIRE power, that’s what! Power to change the world, to win the lost to Jesus, to change their very lives.
I go to churches all over and see all the empty seats and it makes me want to cry. There’s FIRE in the Word of God to change not only your life, but the lives of everyone else that hears it. But they will never hear it if we Christians don’t do our job. Don’t let your priorities get mixed up. The last thing in the world most people would think as most important in their lives is Jesus. Just look at the majority of the world around you. What is most important to them? Worldly things, houses, cars, money, status, having a good time, doing it “their way”, going to the lake on the weekends, party time, that’s what. But when they stand before Jesus, all that will become so worthless. THEN, all that will matter to them is if they are given entrance to heaven.
That’s where YOU and I come into play. If we have our priorities straight, then those things the world seeks first shall be last unto us. We will have their salvation on our minds. We will be hunters of lost souls. By the way, they’re always in season, and there’s no limit. And they’re all keepers. You never have to throw one back.
We have the words of life, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to give to a lost and dying world. That’s first priority, above all else. This isn’t all about us, it’s all about THEM and doing what we were put here to do. Remember the saying “If it’s to be, it’s up to ME”. Will there be people looking at you in the judgment, pointing to you and saying, YOU KNEW JESUS…WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME SO I COULD BE SAVED? What are YOU going to say? Will you have to hang your head? What will you answer them? I was too busy? And what will you answer Jesus? Will he tell you Depart from me, I never knew you? I pray that never happens to you and me. I want to get my priorities straight and help you get yours straight, too..
We have such a small sliver of time left before Jesus returns. Just before Jesus was born, John the Baptist was born, and just before Jesus began His earthly ministry, John the Baptist cried out to people, “Make straight the paths of the Lord. Bring forth fruit meet for repentance. Turn from your sins and be baptized.” Then Jesus came and said “Follow me, for I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by me. Come unto me and I will give you rest for your soul.” Then He was crucified for our sins, yours and mine. He arose from the dead and ascended to His Father’s throne in heaven. Now, once again, just like the reflection in the mirror, the first shall be last and the last first. As by the spirit of Elijah, just like John the Baptist, I’m declaring to You, make straight the ways of the Lord. He’s coming back! The first message that was last, is once again first. He is coming! Repent now!
What have we done with this wonderful love that God has shed abroad in our hearts? Have we tended the fire of love and kept it hot? Or have we neglected our time with God, letting “things” get in the way, life, job, money, busyness in general, and we’ve let the fire die down? Have we let our first priority become last?
Remember how on that marriage day, or that nothing was more important than that new mate? Do you remember on that precious day of salvation, nothing was more important than Jesus? Shake it up today, put things back in their right order. GET OUT OF THE RUT ! Don’t let the first become last, and the last first ANYMORE! God has something FAR BETTER for you. Go to Jesus and say, Lord, I’m sorry I made you no longer first. I repent! Let’s do this again. THEN, go to your mate, and do the same thing.
O HAPPY DAY! TODAY CAN BE THE SECOND BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE, THE FIRST WAS WHEN YOU DID IT THE FIRST TIME, YOU GOT IT RIGHT THEN, YOU CAN DO IT RIGHT AGAIN !