In Everything Preeminent

A couple nights ago I was reading Colossians 1. I took a moment and lifted my head, closing my eyes, pondering the phrase in verse 18 “that in everything he might be preeminent.”

How can I make Christ preeminent in my life? So that in my life He might be preeminent.

But then I thought—the text surely gives the answer. What must occur “that in everything he might be preeminent”? So I looked again, and I was shocked that I had so quickly forgotten what came before.

“15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

The truth is I  can’t “make” Jesus preeminent; He is so because He is Creator, Sustainer, Savior, Death-conqueror (“firstborn from the dead”). His preeminence comes—not from my declaration that He is first in my life—but it comes from who He is and what He has done.

I think my intentions were in large part God honoring. I was thinking of preeminence in terms of laying aside idols and worshipping Christ above all else. Preeminence does mean “most important and “surpassing all others.” Yet there was some part of me that thought for  minute that His preeminence depends on me. That I could make or break it for Him. That He needed me.

Yet if such were the case, He wouldn’t be objectively and truly preeminent in all things. He is most important and surpasses all others regardless of what I do or think.

We should seek to perceive Jesus rightly, to worship Him rightly, to treat Him and obey Him as the preeminent One. But we don’t bestow preeminence upon Him with our praise—we acknowledge it. We wonder at it. We rejoice in it.

How freeing and heartening it should be to consider that His matchless power, love, and glory is enough. Jesus doesn’t need me.

And yet He came to me. He came to earth visibly. And even now He lets me glimpse His preeminent glory.

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Prepare My Heart to Praise You Then

I’ve said and heard many times in Bible studies before “It’s so much easier to praise God when life is going well for us.” It’s true. A few days ago I was feeling unusually joyful and happy about life. As I was singing worship songs in the two-hour drive I was taking that day, I prayed, “Prepare my heart to praise you then.” In the other times. In the less-easy-to-praise-God times. In the less-easy-but-immensely-important times.

I think of it as an infinite pattern of praise—praising God today for today and praising Him today for tomorrow. “Lord, I praise you today. And I praise You that when hard times come tomorrow, You will be with me. And I praise You because when you get me through the hard times of tomorrow, and I’m tempted to ignore You and boast in myself, You will be with me. And I praise You that when I’ve been humbled from that boasting that follows the hard time following the goodness of today, You will still be with me!”

And so this is what I’ve written over the past week:

Prepare my heart to praise You then
When darker days do come.
When earth gives way and mountains move,
Recall to me Your love.
Steadfast, I know it never leaves.
Each morning it is new.
I trust You for the coming doubt
That You will see me through.

The woes of earth surprise me not.
Already I rejoice.
I hide Your word within my heart
To always know Your voice.
With truth in hand, I’ll face the trials.
My double-edged sword
Cuts down the lies that pull me far
Away from Christ my Lord.

With eager heart, expect great things,
His glory coming soon,
A story of His faithfulness
To never-changing tune.
Steadfast, I know You never leave,
Each morning grace anew.
I trust You for the coming doubt
That you will see me through.

Some verses referenced:
Lamentations 3:21-22; Psalm 46:1-3; 1 Peter 4:12; James 1:2; Psalm 119:11; Psalm 105:5; John 10:3-5, 14-16; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 8:18