The Tragedy of Loving to Be First


I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first,

will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. 3 John 1:9

Lord Jesus, we usually love hearing our name called, but not when it’s used as an example of someone who loves to be first. Please convict us, when like Diotrephes, we put ourselves first, and put others down.

In our families—when our zeal to be right is more notorious than our commitment to be kind.

In our friendships—when we keep things too superficial, and withhold our struggles and brokenness from our friends.

In our vocations—when those we work with feel more used than loved, and sense we are more into self-promotion than serving others.

In the general population—when we navigate through life with little eye contact, too much rush, and too little compassion.

In the community of fellow sinners—when we’re more irritated with other people’s messes and brokenness than we grieve our self-righteousness and lack of Christlikeness.

Jesus, have mercy on us. You didn’t consider your equality with God something to be held onto selfishly. You didn’t love to be first, ever. Rather, you emptied yourself, by coming into the world to us, and giving yourself for us. As the Servant of all, you fulfilled the demands of the law for us, and exhausted God’s judgment against us. Hallelujah, what grand humility and incomparable grace.

Now you ever live to serve us as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Bridegroom. We are convicted and humbled afresh, by your lavish and selfless love. Restore our first love for you, that our love for being first will decrease and die a thousand deaths. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.

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