From More Than a Bucket List by Toni Birdsong
Preach heaven’s message first.
It may come as a shock to some believers to discover that Jesus wasn’t a registered Republican or Democrat. He wasn’t patriotic; He didn’t crusade for baby seals, picket against poverty, or pin a colored ribbon on His chest.
It isn’t that He didn’t care about these things—we know He did because He created all things. He just cared about heaven more. Since redemption of sin is the only way to get there, redemption of sin is what Jesus preached first. He came to rehabilitate and ready us for heaven. His allegiance, His crusade, and His colors were tethered to His hometown. If anyone looking on doubted that, the cross soon clarified Jesus’ primary affiliations.
Does following Jesus mean you abandon all other passions and platforms? Absolutely not. Just abide in Him—first. Lift His message—highest. Let the message of the cross be what you stand up for and the only message you bow down to. Exchange your prejudices and points of view for His. There’s a lot of chatter in the world. But when you follow Christ, you are marked by and for the message of the gospel.
Like Jesus, let Calvary be the flag you lift highest, the passion that prevails. All other flags—even the “good stuff” like grace, goodness, service, our politics, and our principles— all are far less important than the cross. Hopefully, we will, like the apostle Paul, someday say: For I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
God’s truth will always bring out the toxins of this world. No one knew this better than Jesus—a magnet for persecution but a master at maintaining His cool. Thankfully, He taught us how to respond when the bullets fly and that incredible things can happen when we choose His ways over our own.
REAL-LIFE CHALLENGE: Evaluate your emotional and spiritual ranking system. What passions and messages come first in your life?
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