Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37)
There are lots of things and people working overtime to separate us from the pursuit of our first love - Christ. What? You say he isn't your 'first love'? Well, if he isn't, he needs to be! We will never experience any love so loyal, any grace so deep, or any peace so settling as what we enjoy in putting him first in our lives. Could it be we are so easily overcome or overwhelmed by life's hard things because we haven't given him 'first place' in our lives?
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (v. 38-39)
Our fears for today and our worries about tomorrow go a long way in distracting us from putting Christ first in our lives, don't they? We get so hyper-focused on those things that we actually stop taking time for our most important relationship. Nothing should separate us from his love - yet our inattention to the relationship might just cause us to drift apart a bit more than we'd actually like to admit. Does that mean we are 'separated from Christ'? No, it means we have allowed other things to become distractions!
Learning to recognize and control life's distractions is the first order of business, but we don't even have to do that alone! If we put Christ back in the right place in our lives, asking him to help us both recognize AND control those distractions, he will. We get pulled away from Christ at center because we don't recognize other relationships or things we are accumulating as distractions. When we attempt to 'control' the distractions all on our own, we probably don't do a very good job for more than a little while. We get pulled away again and then we wonder where that 'closeness' with Jesus went.
One thing I have learned is to regularly examine my choices. What am I choosing to spend my time on FIRST? Who am I choosing to spend my time with FIRST? Where is my attention focused most of the time? When I begin to answer anything other than Jesus to the first two questions, it is likely that the answer to the third one will reveal Jesus really isn't with me in whatever it is I am focusing so much time and attention on. Just sayin!
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