And [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Colossians 1:15-20 is a tightly packed master class on Christology. If you want to understand who Jesus was, His nature, His role in the cosmos, and the importance of His death, it's all here. One undeniable implication of this passage is that Jesus is of the highest importance. He has first priority. He is supreme.
This is evident in verses 17-18. Verse 17 says that "He is before all things," and in case that wasn't clear enough verse 18 adds that God has worked all things out so that "in everything [Jesus] might be preeminent." That word 'preeminent' is rendered in various Bible translations as supremacy (NIV), preeminence (ESV, KJV, NKJV), or to have the first place in everything (NASB, HCSB, NLT & NET). This last rendering is the closest to the literal translation in the original language which is to be first or to hold first place.
So then Jesus holds the highest priority in reality. Not just Christian reality or spiritual reality, but REALITY. This has major implications. Here are a few.
First, this explains why putting other things ahead of Christ in our lives is idolatry. Doing so moves Jesus out of His rightful place of supremacy and bows our hearts in worship to someone or something else. To attempt to remove the One who is infinitely worthy from His place of primacy and set something up in His stead is exceedingly sinful.
Second, placing anything or anyone ahead of Jesus is both damaging to ourselves and is delusional. When we place a higher priority on something that isn't Christ we reveal our own understanding of what is ultimately true and of infinite worth. The reality that Jesus holds first position in everything hasn't changed; we have simply revealed that our perception of reality is off. We legitimately think Jesus is not of the highest priority. This means we are detached from reality. We no longer see it as it truly is.
Third, it is entirely unfathomable that a Christian would place a higher priority on anything or anyone over above Jesus. It is crazy to think that a Christian (of all people) would attempt to dethrone the one whom they claim as their Savior, Lord and God by putting other things ahead of Him. Sadly we do this regularly. I do this regularly. WE MUST STOP!
Lord, help me to learn to treasure Jesus above all else. Help me to keep Him first in my life. Help us to see all the ways that Jesus is already truly first in all things. And help us to live in light of that truth every day. I pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.