“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God…” 1 Peter 2:12
“First in Flight.” That’s a motto in the state of North Carolina, marking the historical flight of Wilbur and Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk. We are rightly proud of this historic heritage, even as we engage in friendly competition with the Wright brothers’ native Ohio for the honor of the term.
What will the world say is our motto as followers of Jesus Christ? What are we “first” in? The New Testament has some ideas about how we should be known and what should be our “first” priorities.
First in righteousness and loyalty to God. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…” and if we do, God will meet our needs. When we follow Jesus, we make living righteously, living God’s way, our top priority.
First in prayer. “I urge, then first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession ad thanksgiving be made for all people…” says 1 Timothy 2:1. The world will know we are people of prayer when they say how it affects the kind of people we are, humble, gentle, patient, loving, honest. You may have trouble living up to that. Me too. That’s why we need to be “first in prayer.”
First in loving and being loved. I John 4:19 says, “We love because God loved us first.” The love that God has is not a warm, fuzzy feeling. It is the will to give oneself sacrificially for another. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).
Belonging to God. That’s what we are called to first of all. When we do, the world will see Christ.
Love in Christ,