Being a big sports fan as a kid, reading was not a favorite pastime. But when Gale Sayers, a famous football player, wrote I Am Third…I couldn’t wait to read it. But I was disappointed and surprised…it had hardly any football, but it was incredibly attention grabbing. Brian’s Song, the film made from the book, was the first movie that moved me to tears. Dr James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, often writes about the “I am Third” approach to life as well: God first, others second, myself third.
We live in a world where the “I Am Third” approach to life is in total misalignment with the flood of messages we hear on TV: “Have it your way”…“Because I’m worth it”…”You deserve a break today”…“I need it”…”Me first”…”My way or the highway”…”It’s all about you”. In fact, the “Me Generation” describes anyone born in the 70’s-90’s.
The messages are endless. We are bombarded from every direction, and especially from inside ourselves. Our flesh constantly cries out “ME FIRST!,” from the time we are babes crying for milk, to this morning when we whined in traffic. We want our agenda and needs met NOW! In today’s Scripture, Jesus clearly tells us what our first obligation is…to follow Him. And to do so we must deny ourselves.
Satan gets us to believe we will suffer when we follow Jesus. But I know from my past that my suffering was the worst when I followed me. Insecurity, anxiety, neediness, impulsivity, procrastination, irritability, shortsightedness, rejection…the list of sufferings was endless. When we follow Christ, the fruit of the Spirit is our reward, and all suffering fades away.
Today, take note of how many times you make yourself first instead third. Try to put into practice the concept of God first, others second, you third. You will find much more satisfaction living this way instead of pushing from your natural instincts, or what you see and hear on television. Your decision, so choose well.
O Father, I hear You inviting me to follow You and live a life of self-denial. I want to make You the Lord of my life. I pray, Father, that You will fill me with Your Holy Spirit to help me live in obedience to You and in loving service to others. I pray in the name of the one who denied Himself for me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. “
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.