You Go First

It has been the same through the years. If I have ever gotten interested in a situation comedy on television, most of the time it was after the series went off the air. I have become interested in the show in syndication or while watching reruns. I must admit I am not much on the newer TV shows. But MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld, etc. are some of my favorites. Such is the case with Everybody Loves Raymond. I got interested in the show at the end of its run but now have watched all the episodes many times.

There is an episode in season 7 of Everybody Loves Raymond named “Baggage.” When Robert asks Ray if he can borrow a suitcase sitting on the stairway landing, Ray explains he and Debra have been locked in an “unspoken” battle of wills since a weekend trip over who is responsible for putting the suitcase away.

I am sure every married couple can identify with this somewhat. Stubbornly refusing to give in and be the one to do something that really is unimportant. You go first. You do it. I am not going first, you do it. Not me, you will have to. Maybe the words are not even spoken. But on and on the silly game goes.

But sometimes it is necessary to be the one to make the first move. And I would like to consider far more important matters than these trivial relationship games we play. I am talking about our spirituality.

Who is going to make the first move?

There is a sense in which GOD made the first move. Romans 5:8 declares that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He made the first move. Thankfully GOD extended his love toward us when we were in a position that we could not make the first move. Without Him making this move we would have no hope of salvation, no hope for eternity in heaven. Lost. Forever.

But I want to consider another angle. Draw near to GOD and He will draw near to you. This is found in James 4:8. In this sense we make the first move. The order is critical. GOD is there. If we will make the effort to seek Him, He will be there. Me first.

If we no longer feel close to GOD, be assured it wasn’t GOD Who moved. It was us. He is there. He is where He has always been. But we must make the first move!

If we want to be close to GOD, we must take the initiative. He has provided the way but He is not going to force us. He is not going to open the door. I am reminded of the picture showing Christ knocking on the door. Have you ever noticed there is no door knob on the outside? We must open the door. We must make the first move.

If we want a closer relationship to Him, we make the first move. “Draw near to GOD and He will draw near to you.”
The previous verse is also important to our discussion. Verse seven reads “therefore submit to GOD. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The order is necessary. One cannot resist Satan until after submitting to GOD. It is necessary to have His help!

If we will first draw near to GOD and submit to Him. He will be there for us and Satan will flee.

But, we must make the first move. How petty we are in relationships to wait for the other one to make the first move. We must not play those games with GOD.

GOD made the first move 2000 years ago when He gave His Son for me. May I never have the attitude of You go first. He already has. Now it is my turn.

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