“As a Christian wanting to represent our Lord and Savior, self-control is much needed. It flows out of an extravagant affection for Christ. Following Him in love puts all the pieces of our lives in proper priority. Self-control comes from the Holy Spirit who empowers us to make these priorities and live by them.
When we were together in Myanmar, we talked about Mary's extravagant affection for Christ (Luke 10:39,42; John 12:3); and I was also struck by Jesus' High Priestly Prayer (the real Lord's Prayer since the one usually called this is really a Disciples Prayer); "I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:28). Is not Jesus praying for increased affection for Himself in this prayer? He makes the Father's name known to us so that the love the Father has for Jesus would be in us!
Extravagant love for Jesus gives us the ability to prioritize our lives for His glory. Mary knew when to sit at Jesus' feet when others thought she should be serving the meal as was expected in her culture (Luke 10:40), and this same extravagant love for Jesus compelled her to worship at Jesus feet in a costly way when her peers thought the expensive perfume should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor (John 12:4). Judas had mixed up motivations because he did not have this extravagant love for Jesus (John 12:5)
While I write these words, I hear in my head the old adage: "You can be too heavenly minded to be any earthly good;" and I know this has some truth to it. But when I focus my life on loving Jesus more, I truly believe my priorities are chosen (note: Mary chose to sit at Jesus' feet in Luke 10:42) according to God's Plan, and this means I will love my wife and children better. I am always reminded that the circles in Chapter 6 of God’s Plan for His Church reveal that God works inside/out, meaning, when my relationship with Jesus is first, my marriage and family (even Christ's church) all benefit.
My brother or sister, you did not need a sermon from me, but since I struggle with the same thing you do; namely, keeping the priorities straight at home and beyond, I speak as a fellow-struggler who is trying to make the right choice of loving Jesus supremely moment by moment. How thankful I am that Jesus Himself prayed for this and that He has given His Spirit so that glorifying Him would be my top priority (John 16:14).” (Randy)
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