Owning and Repenting of “Me-First-Ness”

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      I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church3 John 9-10

Lord Jesus, most of the time we love to hear our names spoken or see them in print. But not when we’re being noted as someone “who loves to be first.” Whatever the circumstances, Diotrephes’ story certainly invites us to consider the ways “me-first-ness” is a part of our stories.

Forgive and free us, Jesus, when we’re more obsessed with a “to-do-list” than a “to-love-list.” The only thing that counts is “faith expressing itself in love,” not ambition expressing itself in drive.

In our families: Forgive and free us, Jesus, of the ways we’re more bothered by things that annoy and disappoint us, than we’re committed to loving and serving our spouses and children. Help us see and grieve the ways, like Diotrephes, we want to be coddled and celebrated, served and not bothered.

In our friendships: Forgive and free us, Jesus, when our longing/need to be included and appreciated, is more pronounced than our commitment to pray, pursue, and care for our friends.

At work: Help us see and grieve the ways we’re more defined by our place in the org chart than who we are in Christ. Among our co-workers, may we emit the aroma of grace and servanthood more than the stench of me-first-ness and using people for our advantage.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us. You didn’t consider your equality with God something to be held onto for personal gain. You’ve never loved to be first. Rather, you emptied yourself as the quintessential Servant—serving us by your life, death, and resurrection (Phil. 2:1-11). Now, you ever live to serve us as our Advocate and Intercessor.

Your unimaginable humility, unparalleled servanthood, and immeasurable love convict us to the core, Jesus. Restore our first love, first joy, and first humility. May our “me-first-ness” get trumped by a growing Christ-like-ness. So very Amen we pray, in your merciful and matchless name.

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