First Place!

On the heels of Reign of Christ Sunday, the crossroad and in many ways the apex of the Church year, we are reminded of the eternal leadership of Jesus Christ as we are about to turn the page into the season of Advent.

We join our hearts in praise to God as we sing hymns such as “Crown Him With Many Crowns” and “Lord, Enthroned In Heavenly Splendor” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” We turn our attention to the rule and reign of Christ in our hearts and lives, breaking forth and coming to fruition due to his sacrificial work in our behalf on the cross. This is a unique time in the Christian year to prayerfully consider the love and lordship of Jesus, in stark contrast to the ways we’ve allowed the kingdom of this world to be prioritized over the Kingdom of heaven.

From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk With God, “We end the church year with our focus on Christ as the Sovereign Servant, who rules like no other…the rulers of this world often seek to govern through fear and intimidation. The Sovereign Servant governs with love, trust, and example. The rulers of this world seek to intimidate, dominate, and control. The Sovereign Servant seeks to encourage, inspire, strengthen, and set free.”

In Colossians 1, the apostle Paul reminds the Church then and now how central the reign of Christ is to be in our souls. We’ve been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought instead into the Kingdom of the Son he loves. The Lord Jesus is the image of the Invisible God, firstborn over all creation, for by him all else is created. Because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we are reconciled to himself as the head of the Body, the Church.

His supremacy over all creation, even over our lives as his disciples, is what we receive when we acknowledge his position of first place in our world and in our hearts. But, when the kingdom of this world occupies more of our attention than the kingdom of lights, we find ourselves in the territory of foreign gods who lure us in their direction. Instead of Jesus in first place, our idols of money, sex, and power topple over the reign of Christ.

The week before Advent is a perfect time to audit your heart and amend your ways, especially as we also celebrate Thanksgiving. To what or whom do you need to be rescued from in this dominion of darkness, in order to live abundantly and redemptively in the Kingdom of the light of Christ? Prepare for Advent and Christmas by thanking God for rescuing you from this-world-priorities through Jesus, and let him reign supremely in your soul as heavenly-minded disciples today. May it be so!

First Place! Read More »