Putting Christ First

Joel Stephen Williams

An old Chinese woman with bound feet, balancing herself on a cane, listened to a missionary tell about Jesus. She was very interested in this new story, but she wondered if it was true. She did not trust the foreign missionary's word all by itself, so she asked a Chinese woman who was a Christian. "Yes, it is true," she was told. "I will come and see you and tell you more." The next day the woman arrived with a Bible and told her more of the story. The old Chinese woman believed. She was now in the conversion process, but that conversion meant the changing of many allegiances. She knew that she must put Christ first and renounce her idols and false gods. As she struggled with this, one night she had a dream, which was but a reflection of the internal struggle already going on in her heart. In her dream the idols on the shelves of her room began to shake. A light fell across the floor and a figure entered the room. The idols began climbing down off the shelves. The old woman asked her idols: "Where are you going?" They replied: "When Jesus comes, we have to get out."

There are some things in life to which we can have dual allegiances. We can have more than one child and love every single one of them completely. We may love two or three types of dessert equally as our favorite dessert. But other allegiances are different, being exclusive in nature. They will allow no competitors, no equals, and no partial loyalties. As a young nation the Israelites were told: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:2; Deut. 5:6). Similarly, Jesus stressed the futility of dual allegiances: "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters" (Mt. 12:30). "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Mt. 10:37). We give honor to whom honor is due, but first honor goes to God.

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