The Preeminence 2
3 John 1:9: I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
Like Diotrephes, your flesh and mine too often want the preeminence. Our flesh wants the preeminence over the circumstances of our lives, over God Himself and over other people. We have the same old flesh after we are saved that we had before. But for the first time there is someone living in us who can overcome our flesh. That someone is Jesus Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Christians who are filled with the Spirit will want Jesus to have preeminence over themselves AND over other mortal men in all things. They will not want preeminence for themselves. J. Hudson Taylor said that he wanted to move men by God through prayer. He was the leader and mentor of hundreds of missionaries to China and yet he did not want preeminence over any of them. He wanted the Lord Jesus to have it. That will be the desire of every Spirit-filled Christian for other Christians. That is not to say that Christians should not be leaders and examples.
1 Colossians 11:1: Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Neither does it mean that Christians should not reprove, rebuke and exhort other Christians and teach them the relevant Bible doctrines.
2 Timothy 4:2: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Romans 5:17: For if by one man*s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
The way to reign in life by Jesus is to do what He wants us to do, when He wants us to do it and in the way that He wants us to do it. It will be done with His help, power and guidance. A Christian should have enough control of Himself to put himself under Jesus authority and do what Jesus wants him to do. He cannot do that for anyone but himself.
Loving to have the preeminence can manifest itself in many ways. My pastor some years ago, Dan Lupton, held up two samples of paint colors. The difference between the two colors could barely be discerned by the naked eye. He said that a church had lost 3 or 4 families over which of those colors their auditorium should be painted. When Christians leave churches, they often do it for petty little unbiblical reasons. The real reason is often that they want preeminence and don*t have it. There are some who leave churches for Biblical reasons, but I believe that most who leave churches do so for wrong reasons. Because they love to have the preeminence, they do not receive other believers, they leave them.
Many who desire the preeminence over others seem to have some characteristics in common. They seem happy and satisfied when they have a measure of preeminence and they become angry when they do not. But they never have the joy of the Lord. They are self-promoters. They belittle other believers and churches. They maximize the faults of others and minimize their own. They have wrong priorities. They will do and say almost anything to have the preeminence. They will even work hard to have the preeminence. They will stretch the truth to have the preeminence. They will harm others to have the preeminence. They will avoid church to have the preeminence. They will leave churches and go to others where they expect to have preeminence.
I recognize these characteristics because I too have loved to have the preeminence. I thank the Lord that He has shown me it is best that Jesus have the preeminence in my life AND in the lives of others.