Which Came First? Chicken or Egg?

The common question is what came first, the chicken or the egg.
I lean toward the chicken since God created it, but that’s not the point of this post.

The point? As Christians we have to know what comes first… Jesus or getting our actions right.

A lot of Christians want the egg before they have the chicken.

They want to change their behavior before they allow God to change their heart.
This leads to nothing but frustration and often quitting because it’s impossible to get right.

A lot of Christians want others to do the same… To become perfect before they will “accept” them.

It will NEVER happen.

The key to our Christian life isn’t trying to clean up and become a trophy to sit on the shelf.
A life truly lived for Christ seeks Him first and leaves the behaviors up to him.
A life truly lived for Christ is about fighting to become more about Him and less about self.

You see, I’ve noticed something during my short life…
When I seek Jesus, I become more like Him.

It’s the natural result.

If your frustrated with your actions and are on the verge of giving up or giving in, return to the Father and be changed from the inside out.

Spend time getting to know Him, beg Him to change your heart, and gain a better appreciation for His love and grace.

Don’t try to find the eggs before you have the chicken.

PS: I’m in no way calling Jesus an actual chicken. It’s just a metaphor. :-)

32 Comments

  1. Great Post! I was just reading earlier about Martha being upset with Mary. Martha wanted the house clean and Mary wanted to be with Jesus. How many times do we worry about cleaning our “house” instead of focusing on Jesus?

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  2. Excellent reminder!
    As a recording Pharisee, I need to hear this every single day. Every time I try to improve myself as a way of earning favor with God, I ends in disaster. But by knowing that in Jesus I already have his favor, it frees me to live for him boldly and fearlessly.
    Thanks for this much needed daily reminder!

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  3. It’s amazing how we think we have to clean ourselves up when, like you said, if we will just put that effort into spending time with God…a changed life is a natural byproduct of a deeper relationship.

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  4. JP,

    You said:
    “A lot of Christians want others to do the same… To become perfect before they will “accept” them.

    It will NEVER happen.”

    And this, sir, is why you ceaselessly struggle. You said NEVER when it comes to walking in the new creation sonship of the New Covenant, blameless and pure in the eyes of our Father. YOu simply cannot use the word NEVER with God. It simply won’t do.

    Instead, you allow for the familiarity with sin to define YOUR walk with Christ, and find it unacceptable for others to preach completion and perfection in God’s eyes through HIS will for us this side of Heaven.

    Which is worse? Telling others that their struggle with sin is what unites us as The Invisible Church, or believing and preaching that God has made us into new creations that have no need to ever return to our past lives, wither in deeds or in explanation?

    Please take that for what it is worth. I am speaking as a son and a disciple who has acquiesced his desires and wants to God his Father.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Donald. Here’s the deal. If we wait for people to be perfect before we’re willing to worship with them and allow them to into our church doors, we’re going against everything Jesus died for. If we claim that we will ever become perfect in comparison with our perfect God, we are deceiving ourselves. The great heroes of the Bible never displayed perfection while walking the earth. In fact, in Romans 7, Paul talks about the fact that even though he wants to do right, he does the wrong thing. Sanctification is never done this side of heaven. If I claim to not have sin in my life (according to 1 john 1:8) I’m only deceiving myself. I completely agree that we are new creations with Christ…. that our new nature is perfection, but the enemy is very real… it is a struggle just like the one Paul had in Romans 7.

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      1. JP,

        My friend, I have no wish to exclude anyone from worship or association with me. At all. My “contention”, if you will, is that The Scriptures have told us repeatedly who and what we are in Christ Jesus, and it seems as though you are reticent to embrace this, but instead you focus on your weaknesses and struggles.

        I know who God our Father says I am, and I know who He has said you are. It is not arrogance or elitism to embrace these things, Jonathan. It is His Word made flesh in us.

        My brother, thank you for your kind indulgence and allowance in permitting me to post my thoughts. Blessings to you and yours, in Jesus’ mighty Name!

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        1. You’re very welcome. I never mind discussing anything. I realize who God sees me as (in Christ). I’m thankful for that. I do, though, believe that I have a tendency to battle myself and flesh at times. Praying I get closer to my spirit winning the battle every time over my flesh!

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  5. *ahem*

    JP,

    You said:
    “A lot of Christians want others to do the same… To become perfect before they will “accept” them.

    It will NEVER happen.”

    And this, sir, is why you ceaselessly struggle.

    …and why you make an outstanding minister.

    (Yes, I’m quoting another poster. Shush. I’m getting to my point.)

    We as Christians tend to welcome “heathens” into our churches as visitors, but to invite them into the family? Oh, no. Then people might view our congregation as less than a gathering of perfect examples of WASP-esque American culture with 2.3 kids, a dog, & a Hybrid car and more like a gathering of…people.

    When I look at my biological family, I can state with absolute certainty that there are some seriously messed up individuals I am related to through blood (as some of them might say the same about me). But the fact is – they’re family. I accept them, faults and all. Yes – you call them on it, IN LOVE, but you don’t wait for them to change before you invite them over for Christmas dinner.

    The same goes for the church. I can state with absolute certainty that there are some seriously messed up individuals I am related to through His blood – and I don’t love them any more or less than the people who aren’t as comparatively “messed up” (which is a totally subjective term).

    Our struggles with sin IS one thing that unites us as the church; matter of fact, I Corinthians 13:13 states “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience” (NLT). Believing and preaching that God has made us into new creations that have no need to ever return to our past lives is another aspect that unites us.

    Good stuff today.

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    1. Sonny,

      You said:
      “Our struggles with sin IS one thing that unites us as the church”

      I wholeheartedly disagree, and find this mindset selfish and self-centered. If this is true, if we are defined by our struggles with sin as The Church, then perhaps you should write a worship song about it, because none of them I have ever sang had anything to do with less than Jesus’ victory over sin on our behalf.

      In your mindset, then, “church” is a haven for the weak who don’t need to become strong, since their struggles give them their identity.

      In my mindset it is a matter of embracing that which our God has spoken about us, walking in it, living it, believing it, and standing with all firmness and resolve upon it. I didn’t write this stuff. Our Father wrote it onto our hearts when He welcomed us into the New Covenant. If this isn’t true, then He is a liar and the New Covenant is worthless. (And both you and I know He is anything but a liar or a fraud! :))

      It concerns me that you, my friend, would wish to identify yourself with your own self, instead of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and call yourself a Christian. Who’s Church is it, anyways? Is it yours? No. So stop trying to imprint your own self-imposed failings onto it and into it. Please, sir. Please stop. God made us into new creations. Every time we forget this, or willingly choose to compromise it for the sake of familiarity with sin as though it is some kind of club to belong to, we lose.

      With much respect, and not personal, ever!

      Donald in Bethel, CT

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      1. Sonny,

        Sorry, I forgot to add this—

        You ended your comments with this:
        “Believing and preaching that God has made us into new creations that have no need to ever return to our past lives is another aspect that unites us.”

        Ah, well now…we’re thinking alike. I would say it is the ONLY thing that unites us, but…I will not press this issue with you. On this premise and truth, you and I stand together.

        Also, thank you for this awesome conversation! And thank you, Jonathan, for allowing it to take place on your blog. I am going to be visiting our blog, Sonny. You have me curious as to who and what you are.

        Blessings to you and yours, in Jesus’ mighty Name,

        Donald Borsch Jr.
        Bethel, CT

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        1. Donald:

          While I do not now (nor, really, ever) deny that we are indeed new creations, I still stand behind the theory (note that word) that believers – imperfect, flawed, and sinning on a daily basis – can and do tend to “circle up” (for lack of a better term) when we find someone who struggles with a common sin that we might have.

          Say, for example, I struggle with porn. Am I still a Christian? Yes. Do I have this thorn in my flesh that I struggle with daily? Yes. Do I feel relieved, elated, and not as alone when I find that another believer has the same struggle? Yes. Do we celebrate our struggles? No – we celebrate that we are not alone.

          There’s a WORLD of difference in knowing that you’re not alone because the Spirit is present in your life and feeling alone as a flesh-and-blood construct stuck here on earth.

          My only points were what I stated above, and – as Jonathan said – we do not need to be perfect (or seem to be perfect) to others, nor should we expect the act of or appearance of perfection in others before we accept them as who they are: imperfect, flawed, and sinning on a daily basis.

          We’re all sinners. Present, past, and future tense.

          The only difference is we hold to a redemption, and act as best we can as redeemed creations.

          …now I need some coffee… :)

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          1. [between sips of coffee]

            Oh – and like you said, Donald: nothing personal, now or ever. I totally love discussions like this, and I welcome commentary on anything you read at my blog. Feel free to email me at any time.

            [goes back to the coffee now]

  6. “The key to our Christian life isn’t trying to clean up and become a trophy to sit on the shelf.
    A life truly lived for Christ seeks Him first and leaves the behaviors up to him.
    A life truly lived for Christ is about fighting to become more about Him and less about self.”

    So true. I’ve seen this idea among the college students I minister to – that somehow, they aren’t good enough to come to God and they need to clean themselves up before they are good enough to pray, or worship together, or even come to group. Never does God tell us to clean ourselves up. He tells us first and foremost to come to Him and HE will help clean us up.

    Great post bud!

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  7. evie

    Great post. Just curious, if we know who we are in Christ and shouldn’t respond out of fleshy thinking why do we then need church? Why are flesh topics addressed in most Sunday Words?

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  8. My brother…this post is great. How often do we hear the phrase, “I gotta get right before I come to church!” I echo you in saying that, as believers in, and followers of Christ, we must be transparent enough and welcoming so that those who would otherwise stay away, will come close enough to us, whether inside a vuilding or on the street, so that we can share the story of redemption with them. The best way to do that is to be REAL! For so long Christians have felt like we must portray spiritual super heroes when, despite vein saved by Grace, we too struggle every single day. Awesome post my friend…glad I’m “in the trenches” with ya!

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  9. Loved the post! So true. I had to laugh at the end when you wrote “PS: I’m in no way calling Jesus an actual chicken. It’s just a metaphor.” Because Jesus actually refers to himself as a chicken in the Bible too:
    Mt 23:37 “….how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”
    Thanks for sharing :)

    Reply

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