“Keeping number One, number One”.
How does a Christian prevent complacency concerning their Christian walk from sneaking into their lives? It's a continual danger for in some ways it isn't all that difficult being a Christian in our society. We are so blessed, for as Christians we enjoy freedom to worship, attend Bible studies, run our church activities, and we do not need to fear persecution. Added to that, we have all the necessities of life, shelter, clothing, food, the ability to travel, and most of us even have Facebook accounts. So at that level it's relatively easy to be a Christian.
Yet, at another level, all these 'freedoms,' as well as having our perceived needs met, make it much easier for complacency to set in. By and large, we live in a society where many people do not have a 'felt-need' for God in their lives, much less a Saviour. And if we’re not disciplined in our daily walk with the Lord, doing daily devotions, Scripture reading, spending time in prayer, fellowshipping with the saints and the like, then we may soon feel that we don’t need God either.
In Psalm 16v2, the Psalmist reminds himself that apart from having God, he has no good thing. It's good for us to be reminded too, for without Christ, we have no good thing. Hence, Church leaderships often need to remind their parishioners to keep Christ as number One. Parents often have to remind themselves and their children to keep Christ as number One. For us as Christians living in this fun-filled society, we need to be reminded that having everything or even some of what this world has to offer, without Christ, is having no good thing at all.
In a society where it seems everyone is busy seeking "self-fulfillment" by acquiring more and more material things by chasing after the gods of this world, it is easy to become complacent about our Christian faith and perhaps even become guilty of coveting or idolatry. The Psalmist knew that the sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods and we need to be aware of them as well (v4).
Is it any wonder then that Scripture continually warns us that we need to be on our guard, for the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8)? One way the devil uses is to make us feel that we have no need of God in our lives, much less a Saviour.
So to keep Jesus as number One, we will need to make choices that are in line with God’s word and will for our lives. In Psalm 16, the Psalmist praised the Lord, for the Lord counselled him. The Psalmist always set the Lord before Him, knowing that God was at his right hand and hence he would not be shaken. He knew that God would not allow his holy one to see decay. God made known the path of life and filled him with joy.
I would suggest that Psalm 16 becomes even more meaningful when we read it in the light of the New Testament. Psalm 16 gives us a vision of Jesus as the source of our happiness and we’re only going to be encouraged to keep Him as number One by spending time reading about him and especially about what He has done for us. Not only was He not abandoned to the grave, we know He rose victoriously from the grave and hence we will not be abandoned either. Being in Jesus therefore, is not only the way that leads to life but also the path along which life is enjoyed. Having Him as number One is the key to the fullness of joy, and a glorious future.
In light of that, we have no reason to become complacent but every reason to remain vigilant in our Christian walk. In the early church, the Christians devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42) Hebrews 10:25 gives us a similar encouragement, especially as we see the Day of the Lord approaching. JZ.
Pastor John Zuidema
Since 1997 Pastor John has been ministering to Churches across Australia and New Zealand.