“Seek ye first the kingdom of God…”
No one is prepared to live or to die without knowing God. To love and serve Him is the beginning and the end of what life was designed to accomplish!
Speaking of our Savior, the Bible says, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…” (Philippians 3:10) Material possessions, human popularity, personal achievement, good health, and pleasure are all rendered meaningless without Him. This reality was captured by the Lord’s searching question, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26a) If you are currently more passionate about anything than loving God, then the first commandment is not front and center in your life!
Under the Holy Spirit’s leadership, Paul expressed his remarkable joy when he wrote, “But whatever things were gain to me, those I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Philippians 3:7-8a) Even from prison he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
The Bible says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) This means that both here and throughout eternity, our identity as Christians is solely rooted in Him! Our Savior bought us on Calvary and rescued us from a meaningless existence which was void of purpose. This is why our first priority as Christians is to love, please, and obey Him.
For life’s future to securely be gain (see Philippians 1:21) then our present must intentionally be Christ! This is the secret to experiencing an abundant life! Our priority must be focused on fulfilling God’s high purpose for our brief physical lives. As the missionary martyr, Nate Saint once said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.” This mindset guides a wise believer’s priorities!
Jesus told us that whatever we lose in the process of following Him, will be given back to us many times over in His kingdom. He said, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)
The nature of Christian discipleship only briefly appears to be sacrificial. In the view of eternity, nothing given or lost actually amounts to anything when compared with the cross! Nothing here will last that is separated from the life-giving power of the resurrection! Therefore, pray for the privilege of telling the Savior’s story to someone today. He is our one eternal priority!
By Billie Hanks Jr.