So… what’s in first place?
I was with a young man thinking marriage. He justified his porn habit as better than sleeping around. Maybe so, but it is incompatible with marriage, and with life and hard to give up even when married. The problem is pandemic even among 14 year olds ruining the lives of those who give it first place. The choice was clear but hard. It could not be first place; could not be his delight. His current path would only lead to lonely life limiting addiction. He went away sad.
The rich young ruler in the Bible, when faced with the stark choice he had to make, also went away sad at the thought of giving up the first place his wealth and its security had in his life (Lk 18). Went away sad… lived sad and forever limited.
The human heart has but one “first place” for man’s need for security and his need for delight. When God fills those two places, only He can allot all other good things their proper role… only He can do that. And the result is the kind of joy that comes when one is rightly related to all those things… and knows it. It’s called Freedom.
I cannot serve God and money (Mt 6:24), God and sex, God and prestige, God and computer games, God and ______. Impossible to have two masters. There is only one number one, only one first place… only One. And this ultimate sadness results in weakness, but the joy of the Lord is my strength. I must choose.
Like Joshua said to Israel: “I have set before you life and death, the curse and the blessing…choose life.”