The whole enterprise of the coming of Christ to the world was to bring us into reconciliation with the Father, into a relationship, a relationship we had lost. And in so doing, He brought us immense benefits. Yet in the relationship, not only do we enjoy benefits, but there are things expected of us. We always think of what we want from God, but not what God wants from us. And so one of the things expected of us is just this, that we have the right attitude towards Jesus. Read the article and watch the message below, part two in the series. Watch part one here.
Let’s read together in 1 Peter 2.4-6
1 Peter 2:4–6 — English Standard Version (ESV) As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”]
When we say that someone is precious, we mean that the person is of great value. They are, in the case of Jesus, of infinite value. It means that we have a deep affection for the person, that we hold them in high esteem. They matter deeply to us, they are highly significant in our lives, and we have allegiance towards them. And when we talk about Jesus being precious to us, it means we must have total allegiance to Him and also endless gratitude.
Furthermore, the choices we make in life demonstrate how precious He is to us in comparison to everything and everyone else in our lives. There are, among others, four very important things that must come second place to Jesus.
More precious than possessions
First, Jesus must be more precious than your possessions. Jesus must be more precious to you than everything that you own. Let’s read Mark 8 30. It says this.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny him themselves and take up their cross and follow me for whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?
And then we also see in Matthew 13 verse 40
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all he has and buys that field.
These two passages demonstrate that the Kingdom of God and life in Christ must be more valuable to us than anything that we own. This person sold everything he possessed to buy the field that contained the treasure. Why? Because what the field was worth, what the treasure in the field was worth, was greater than all that he possessed.
That is who Jesus is. Jesus must be our treasure. The kingdom of God must be our treasure. We must value Jesus to such an extent that we’re willing to separate ourselves from anything for His sake. Whatever we possess, we must be willing to give up. We must be willing to give up anything that conflicts with His purposes.We must value Jesus to such an extent that we're willing to separate ourselves from anything for His sake. Click To Tweet
Acquisition of wealth
In terms of possessions, we must be willing to give up the acquisition of wealth, property, or goods if it conflicts with His purpose for our lives, If the acquisition or the possession of such things will lead us to sin or be neglectful of His service. Many people place the priority on acquiring wealth, and serving God comes a poor second. When a person devotes their entire energy to acquiring wealth, that is a miserable use of their existence. There is no amount of money that you can earn that will equate to the value of your existence. So if you devote your entire life to acquiring wealth, you have short-changed yourself.
We must prefer Him to money and be willing to give up the money, to release whatever we do have in obedience to God, to fulfill His purposes on the earth. When God’s people returned from captivity, they were meant to build the temple, but they were distracted by their own affairs. And instead of devoting their finances to building the temple, they rather devoted them to building their own homes. Therefore, Haggai the prophet spoke very strongly to them from the Lord.
He told them that because they had abandoned the Lord’s house to build themselves fine homes, they had suffered adversity. They worked hard but gained little. It was as if they were putting their money in baskets full of holes. Many believers live this way because Jesus is not more precious to them than money. Their entire existence is devoted to acquiring wealth and spending it on themselves.
We must be willing, if we truly prefer Jesus, to release our finances for the work of the kingdom. We must not acquire finances to the detriment of our relationship with the Father. Many will go out of their way to do things that are ungodly and claim that well, you know, one has to survive.We must be willing, if we truly prefer Jesus, to release our finances for the work of the kingdom. Click To Tweet
Solomon was not a perfect individual by a long shot, but he gave abundantly to the Lord and in response to his giving, the Lord appeared to him and made him a standing promise and literally changed his life because of his giving. And so when we prefer the Lord to things, we have no difficulty releasing those things for the work of God.
Preferring Jesus to our possessions also means that we must be willing to abandon them to go and serve Him. The rich young ruler wanted to follow Jesus but preferred to hold on to his possessions. He was told to turn his back to them, but He could not.
More precious than social status
Secondly, Jesus must be more precious to us than who we are. He must be more precious to us than our social standing, our dignity, our prerogatives, our pride, and our advantages in life. He must be more precious to us than all the accolades that we can receive from the world when we do things their way. In Philippians, Chapter 3, Verse 7, the Apostle Paul says this, absolutely striking.
But everything that was a gain for me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ. Jesus, my Lord, Because of him, I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth so that I may gain Christ.
First, according to him, knowing Christ was of infinitely greater value than these things that he was entitled to and owned. Not only that, He considers them as filth, dung, rubbish, worthless, less than nothing. Unlike many believers, he no longer craves honour, recognition as these war against pure and sincere devotion to Christ. He considers knowing Christ to be of all-surpassing value.
Secondly, he is willing to lose the one to get the other. He has forsaken all his prerogatives in favour of winning Christ. We pay lip service to the preciousness of Christ but are quick to bristle when it clashes with our desires and pride.
More precious than relationships
Jesus must be more precious to us than any person on the face of the earth, more precious than any relationship. In Luke 14.26, Jesus says
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
In Matthew 10 Verse 37 Jesus says, that the person who loves father or mother, son or daughter more than Himself is not worthy of Him, and whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Him is not worthy of Him.
Jesus says you must prefer Him to your family. You must put Him ahead of your family, of the people who are the most precious to you in life. And that’s when you can truly be His disciples. By that understanding, I feel that many, many believers, if not most of us are not disciples. We are simply profiteers enjoying God’s kindness while denying Him what He expects from us.
More precious than our lives
And finally, Jesus must be more precious to us than our own lives. You must be willing to give up everything about your life that Jesus does not like, boyfriends, ambitions, everything, even your own breath.
They came to the Apostle Paul to try and dissuade him from going to Jerusalem because the word had been released by the Holy Spirit that he was going to be in trouble when he got there. But he himself knew that and he said, No, no, no, no, I will go. He was willing to embrace the suffering and possibly death. That is a man who loved Jesus more than his life.
We need to bring the people in our churches to a place of absolute consecration to Christ. We need to kill the selfishness and self-centredness that has gangrened the church. We come from a long line of people who gave up everything for Christ. And He says, If you’re not willing to give up all of these things, you cannot be my disciple.
So, is Jesus more precious to you than all else?