You may have heard me mention the idea that God’s order is first King, next Kingdom, and then church. Even a quick perusal of human and church history makes it clear that when this order is out of whack, exceptionally odd religious things often occur.
There is something in the heart of mankind (and womankind) which gravitates toward religion rather than relationship, codes rather than connections, and forms over function. We need to look no further than Jesus’ conflict with the religious leaders of Israel to illustrate this point. In this instance Jesus addresses the empty folly of religion in Matthew 23.
“Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.
“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.
“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” – Matthew 23:1-12
Here is a full teaching video on the subject of First Things First. http://engagegod.com/first-things-first/
As well as a pdf of these pages from the Engage Training Course. First-things-pages-9-13
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