Mark 8:34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Note: I mentioned previously two prerequisites needed to be filled with the Spirit, 1. be born again, and 2. desire to be filled with the Spirit. In addition I discovered four essentials I need to focus on to accomplish this goal. The first one is put Christ first which will be the focus of this devotional, the other three will follow.
Many times I have heard sermons, been in bible studies, in conversations, or studied on my own about the need to put Christ first. I can intellectually understand this need, but does it truly sink deeply into my being? If not, why not. Is it because I have this inborn sinfulness, a desire to do what I want to do to please me and not deny myself? Of course it is. Can this be changed for the better? Of course it can, because I am born again, and have the desire to be filled with His Spirit. Spiritually I am dead to sin, crucified with Christ. With the power of His Spirit in me I can be filled if I want to, but it won’t be easy. How do I know; because I have gone through a lot of it already. Jesus has been with me every step of the way, even when I didn’t know it. I have come to understand the more I give up for Him the more I understand the value of being closer to Jesus. The peace and joy that comes from a relationship with Jesus can only be experienced and not described. As I have grown in Him those blessings have multiplied many times over, but I want more. I have also come to understand that giving more of myself to Jesus doesn’t necessarily take anything away from anyone else. It depends on where their heart is. To be Christ centered is the only way I can grow in Christ, the more centered in my life He becomes the more I will grow in Him. Am I there yet? Not even close but I pray I will continue to grow as long as He keeps me here. As John the Baptist stated
John 3:30 He must increase, I must decrease.
Lord, help me decrease while you increase your will in and through me.