What are You Willing to Place Above All?

above it all

by John Moreland, President

We recently returned from our National Convention in Birmingham, and before going any further, I’d like to thank Dr. Nathan Lorick, and all of the Colorado Staff for their representation of Colorado Baptists; you all did us proud. As I took the opportunity to listen to many conversations around me, and several sessions hosted by our Convention President, Dr. J.D. Greear, and others, the theme-Gospel Above All-stayed with me.

As I thought about that theme I challenged myself in light of it, asking myself-what am I willing to place above all? It’s one thing to tout a mantra, it’s something entirely different for that mantra to become the drum beat to which we march, and a value by which we live. So I wondered, what would it take for everyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus to truly put the Gospel above all? Among all of the “answers” that flooded my mind in response to that “question” the one thing that stood head and shoulders above the rest is self-denial. If we are going to exalt anything or anyone above self, self-denial is the key, and it’s also the hardest thing to do. The ability to deny self, and make something or someone else more important, is antithetical to our nature as human beings. However, we need only take a cursory view of Scripture to see both that this is our calling, as followers of Jesus, and also, how hard it is to fulfill that calling.

For example, in Matthew 16:24, Jesus declares to his disciples, if you wish to follow me, you must first deny yourself. In Philippians 3, Paul laid out what is quite probably the most impressive resume in biblical history, and then he stated that he was willing to count it all lost, and to throw it all away to follow Jesus. Without question, the ultimate picture of self-denial is seen atop that great hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where Jesus subjected himself to his creation, to atone for the sins of the world.

So, as you read this article, ask yourself how you are doing with the call to deny yourself? What have you (and I) placed above all? The idea of self-denial must be more than the implication of our Convention theme, more than a mantra, more than a platform, it must be the reality by which we live, and not only live, but also, by which we die. The call of those who would dare to follow Jesus isn’t one of convenience, nor is it a call to comfort, it’s a calling of sacrifice, and maybe the ultimate sacrifice. So I ask you again-what are you willing to place above all?