Jesus is the Best Thing - First15 - September 3, 2017

Jesus is the Best Thing

Weekly Overview:

As children of God, we have been given a new home and a new hope. May your heart be set aflame by the joy and purpose of living out God’s command to live for heaven this week: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” - Colossians 3:1-4

Scripture:“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” - Hebrews 12:1-2

Devotional:

Of all the wonders our Creator provides us, boundless and unadulterated relationship with Jesus vastly exceeds them all. Jesus is the best thing we will ever know. His love restores, satisfies, transforms, and heals. His grace empowers and brings transcendent peace. His nearness resolves the great fears of our hearts. And his Kingship calls us to a right lifestyle of living for heaven rather than a pursuit of that which is worldly and fleeting. Colossians 3:1-4 says,

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

You and I have limited space in our hearts. When we choose to fill our lives with the things of the world, we crowd out that which will fill us with pure and abounding relationship with Jesus. It’s for this reason Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

As disciples of Jesus, we must learn to lead different lives than others around us. Instead of looking to others as our standard for what is good or right, we must look to Jesus. Instead of setting the bar for our lives by looking at successful people, even successful Christians, we must set our bar at living like Jesus. Jesus valued relationship with the Father above all else. He valued obedience to the Father’s will above all other pursuits. Every breath he breathed was done to the glory of God the Father and in fulfillment of his plans, and you and I are to do the same.

To live for heaven is to throw off every weight that would hinder us from pursuing the fullness of relationship with Jesus. To live for heaven is to declare with our thoughts, actions, and emotions that Jesus truly is Lord of lords and King of kings and that he is worthy of our lives. To live for heaven is to make as much room in our hearts for Jesus as possible. Live for heaven today and discover the wealth of relationship and satisfaction available to you only through the sole pursuit of Jesus.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the principle of serving two masters. Allow Scripture to stir up your heart to pursue relationship with Jesus above all else. Renew your mind to what truly has value in this life.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” - Matthew 6:33-34

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” - Hebrews 12:1-2

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

2. What things of the world have you been pursuing? In what ways has the world crowded out space that was meant solely for the things of God?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” - Romans 12:2

3. Ask the Lord to lead you to a lifestyle of living for heaven. Ask him to give you a vision of what it looks like to pursue relationship with him above all else. Commit to following his leadership to paths of righteousness and relationship and turn away from worldly cares and pursuits.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” - 1 John 2:15-17

Living with a heavenly perspective takes time spent in God’s presence, studying his word. It’s unnatural to live in the world but not of the world (John 15:19). There are few to no people we encounter in our daily routine who truly live out this command. If we are going to fully pursue the abundant life to which we’ve been called, we must choose to live differently. If we are going to truly live for heaven, we must allow the Lord to daily renew our perspective on what matters. The life available to us through pursuing Jesus alone may be countercultural, but it is filled with adventure, wonder, satisfaction, and purpose. May you be filled with the courage to throw off the burdens of the world and live solely for Jesus today.

Extended Reading: 1 John 2

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