God First Above All Else

Living a life while trying (and trying) to be faithful and obedient to God gave me several insights in life. Among these is that as you grow older, there’s a realization that not all of the time you and your friends are similar in your attitudes or beliefs towards politics, money, or fame. Still, you still respect each other and agree that there are earthly leaders that have responsibilities over us but accept that God has spiritual dominion over our lives. Recognition of our worldly rulers does not stop us from allowing God to rule over our lives. 

In the Gospel (Mt. 22:15-21),the Pharisees, together with the Herodians, sent their followers in trying to entrap Jesus. Yet the Lord knew of their malicious intent  telling them,  

Why are you testing me, you hypocritesShow me the coin that pays the census tax.” 
Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.”

Jesus responded with wisdom,

Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Some of us may experience this in our lives. There are some people who try to trick us into accepting something beyond our morals and ethics. They try to demand more from us with malice and treachery such that if we aren’t careful, we might fall into their trap. It can eventually cause worries and anxieties while others may even lose their patience and composure. Thus, we have to be aware of these people around us. We could copy Christ’s response with truth and Godly wisdom. There’s nothing in this universe that can defeat the wisdom and power of God, as only He can overcome deceit, malice and gamesmanship. No other power can penetrate and stop every human and evil act of deceit and betrayal. As the prophet Isaiah said in the First Reading (Is. 45:1, 4-6),

I am the LORD and there is no otherthere is no God besides me.”

Therefore, we should place God at the center of everything so that we draw faith, strength and courage from Him. When we do, we can depend on being warned of these evil schemes in advance and defend ourselves and our faith with God’s strength. Only God’s power can protect us from any treacherous scheme that evil and malicious people throw on us. 

As St. Paul reassures us in the Second Reading (1 Thes. 1: 1-5b),

For our Gospel did not come to you in word alonebut also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.” 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have to accept both the earthly rulers and the spiritual power and dominion of God. We have to acknowledge both realities but God must come first. As His messengers, we also want to develop a community of believers and create it into something that puts God above all else. Our faith in Him does not stop us from exercising our duties as citizens but neither should these duties prevent us from putting God first. 

Let us reflect on how we put God at the center of our lives and allowing His Word to guide us through the treacherous waters of our earthly pilgrimage. 

Let us pray that God’s Spirit guide and protect us from the malice that others set on us.

Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life.” (Phil. 2:15d, 16a)

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