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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. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church3 John 9-10

Dear Lord Jesus, making it into the Bible is one thing; but being chronicled as a person who loved being first is an altogether different matter. “Diotrephes, who loves to be first“… though we’re not given any insight into the backstory of this man’s self-love and distrust of John, his story certainly invites me to look at mine. Jesus, please free me from the ways, I too, love to be first.

In my marriage—when I’m more aware of my wants than my spouse’s needs; when being right is more important to me than listening well; when I pout more than I pursue my spouse; when I take her for granted more than I take her out to dinner.

In my friendships—when I’m more preoccupied with my life and fulfillment, than committed to love, contact and serve my friends.

In my vocation—when co-workers experience me as someone more taken up with my schedule and success, than as a engaged, loving co-member of a team.

In the general population—when I navigate through life with little eye contact, in a hurry to get my checklist done, forgetting names and forging on.

In the grocery store—when I push my shopping cart around like I’m driving in the Daytona 500, racing up and down the aisles, grabbing items, and speeding up to get to the shortest checkout line first.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner. You didn’t consider your equality with God something to be held onto selfishly. You’ve never “loved being first”; rather, you emptied yourself by taking the very nature of a man—a servant man, a man who served us by fulfilling all the demands of the law for us, and then by exhausting God’s judgment against all our sin, on the cross. Now you ever live to serve as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Bridegroom.

I am convicted and humbled afresh, by your lavish and selfless love. Intensify my love for you, that my love for being first will decrease and die a thousand deaths. So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and matchless name.


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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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