Jesus amidst many things

Whether Christmas is a particularly busy season for you or not, it can certainly highlight the many things that lay claim to us: family, friends, obligations, presents (both the giving and receiving), meals (ditto)… there are so many things. In the midst of all this, Christians might be heard to lament how Jesus gets ‘squeezed out’ of their lives. I take this to mean that people are less likely to spend personal time with Him (prayer, Bible study, etc.), and are away from the routine areas of church life (Sunday services, midweek groups and ministries) which increase their awareness of Him or focus their attention on Him.

The western mindset likes to compartmentalise, with the result that we succumb to the temptation to designate certain rooms in our hearts (areas of our lives) as having restricted access: Jesus is allowed in to some of them but not others. There are some that we do not wish Him to see for shame, and some that we think He is not interested in. There are others, however, which we think of as being very much for Him, such as the examples listed above. You might perhaps call these ‘the holy rooms’.

There is an inherent foolishness in this position (speaking as one who had previously tried to maintain it) in that God knows all – there is nothing hidden from Him (Psalms 69:5, 139:15). Moreover, as the great missionary Hudson Taylor said, “Christ is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.”

Jesus doesn’t want to be first of the many things in our lives, He wants to be our everything. He wants to be supreme (Philippians 2:9-11). Supremacy is more than superiority, it’s not just being top of the league but having the rest of the league serve you (1 Corinthians 15:27-28). That’s actually quite different to making sure that Jesus is ‘number one’ in your life, isn’t it?

What should this look like? It should mean that He has an 'access all areas' pass to every room of your heart, and every room is for Him and His glory. So you can’t maintain a habitual sin and rationalise it by saying, ‘But it’s not as important to me as Jesus’ because by persistently rebelling against Him in that way you are denying His lordship over an area of your life. And you can’t treat your job as something that you have to get done but consider an area of service or ministry as the ‘important business’ of your life because you are missing the opportunity to allow Jesus to be lord of many hours of your week.

This temptation, though unlikely to be expressed in this way, could be stated thus. Assume that joy is quantifiable between 0 and 10, with 0 being absolute misery and 10 being pure joy. Think of some areas of your life and give them a maximum joy rating. Waking up might never get higher than 4, football might be able to get up to a 7, your spouse at certain times might take you to (cloud) 9! Then you consider Jesus. You know theoretically that He should score a 10 but how often is that the case for you? Now on His own He is a 10, and if He does not feel like that to us then that is due to our lack and not His, but the point I’m making here is that He wants to turn all those other areas in 10s through His supremacy in your life. That’s a massive undertaking, and I feel a little unsure of it myself even as I write it, but I think that is the logical conclusion to Him being Lord of all and that being our joy.

With this adjusted mindset, how can we ensure that Christ has the supremacy in all the things of our lives? Here are three actions which I think will help:

1. Don’t sin
I know this is always part of the answer but let’s see how this fits here exactly. Sin is a denial of God’s Lordship because it ignores what He says is best, and you will not be able to thank Him for it. Repented-of sin glorifies God as both just and merciful but it will not show His supremacy in your life. When you are tempted to sin there is always a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) and choosing that way is to choose the ‘Jesus is Lord’ option. The more you do this, the more you will be expressing His supremacy and situations that used to lead to your misery will instead lead to Him being glorified, and your joy.

2. Be led by the Spirit
God does not send us off in life unaccompanied (John 14:18, 26, 16:13-14). If He did so, it would be possible for us to claim a measure of glory if we achieved anything – and that is not His design for it is only right that He gets all the glory. So He gives us the Holy Spirit to be our constant companion, counsellor, guide, and strength. Again the foolishness of compartmentalising suggests that the Spirit will only be involved in some things that we have to do (speaking to someone about Jesus) and not others (speaking to someone about plumbing). If Jesus is to be Lord of all then we should ask the Spirit to be with us at all times because this will make us dependent on Him and thus glorify Him, and so He will be supreme in everything.

3. Give thanks
This is another regular suggestion from me but that’s because it’s so important. Giving thanks acknowledges the help of another – the more things you give thanks to Jesus for, the more you recognise how much of life comes under His jurisdiction (i.e. all of it). I give thanks with as much wonder and joy at having a good time with friends as I do at having had the opportunity to preach – because I know that both these things came from Him and both can be used as opportunities to celebrate His greatness and lordship. Giving thanks opens our eyes to Him seated on the throne.


I’ve written this because this morning I was really struggling to focus on Jesus as I was praying with a couple of friends. Thoughts about other things that are going on in my life kept distracting me. My response, by God’s grace, was two-fold. Firstly, I did make an effort to concentrate on Jesus: His character and the wonderful things He has done for me. And later, I considered those other things as ways for me to ensure that Jesus is in His rightful place in my life as Lord of all by asking for His guidance and strength. Then, through another’s prayer, I believe He spoke to me about those things in particular and this whole topic in general! How gracious He is that He would condescend to teach and encourage me in this way.

Jesus doesn’t want to be simply the first of many things in your life, He wants to be your everything. If, like me, you recognise the truth of this, you might want to make this excellent song from Tim Hughes your prayer: