I have one piece of advice for you as we start out this New Year:
Don’t put Jesus first this year.
Yes, you read that correctly. Before you label me a heretic, let me explain.
I imagine that many of you are going through a similar process as me right now of setting and resetting your priorities. Personally, I love this time of year. I’m a very goal-oriented individual and I’ve found that reprioritizing and recalibrating your life is an indispensable activity if you really want to actualize your potential.
And here’s what it usually looks like. We start by putting Jesus at the top. Then family. Then maybe career. And so on. So our priorities look something like this:
Looks good. However I’ve found that this isn’t very effective when you get down to the grind of everyday life. For example, what does it even mean to put Jesus before my family? Do I ignore my family to spend more time with Jesus? Or with your career, do you stop working to put Jesus first?
The essential problem with this approach is that it segregates the different priorities of life. You end up removing Jesus from where you spend the majority of your time and putting Him on an island by Himself. The biggest island maybe, but an island nonetheless.
I don’t think this is the way it was ever supposed to work. Colossians 1:15-20 repeatedly tells us that Jesus is first before and over everything. But it also says that all things were created through and for Him. That in Him all things hold together. That the goal of the cross was to reconcile all things to Himself.
So Jesus is first. He is first in order. He is first in importance. But He is so because He is the center of everything.
That’s what He should be in your life. And consequently, the thing that is at the center of your life is the thing that is ultimately first in your life.
This year, instead of worrying about putting Jesus first in your life, what if you concentrated on making Him the center of every area of your life? Not just the top priority in front of every other priority, but the top priority in every priority?
Not Jesus, then my family. But Jesus in my family.
Not Jesus, then my career. But Jesus in my career.
We’d probably be a lot more successful in actually keeping Jesus at the top spot on our list. And we’d be much more likely to do an exponentially greater job at accomplishing our other goals and maintaining our priorities.
(For some practical tips on how to put Jesus in the center of your life, check out the Elevation Sermon Archive next Monday for our New Year’s sermon.)