You First (Valentine’s Day)

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You can read the devotion below or listen to the audio in iTunes.  

Verse: We love because he loved us first. – 1 John 4:19 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  We can share Jesus’ love by putting others first.

If you have a brother or sister, you know how important the word first can be.  After all, siblings can be really competitive. Maybe you’ve heard some of these phrases around your house:

  • I want to go first.
  • I get first pick.
  • Let me have the first piece.
  • No fair!  Why is she always first?

Or how about this one?  Have you ever blamed something you did on your brother or sister because they did it to you first?  Whether it was saying unkind words, making mean faces or hitting each other, kids having been using that excuse for years.

It goes like this. One kid yells, “Mom, she pushed me!”  Immediately the other replies, “Well, she pushed me first!”

Like that makes it okay!  We all know it doesn’t, but sometimes we use that excuse anyway to try to get ourselves out of trouble.

Okay, so those are some bad ways we use the word first, but what would you say if I told you you could actually use the word first in a good way?  In fact, the Bible tells us that the phrase, “He did it first!” can be an excuse to do all kinds of good things.

1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he loved us first” (NIrV).  Jesus’ friend John wrote this about Jesus. He’s saying that Jesus’ love should be our example for how we treat others.

Remember, Jesus loves people who no else loves.  Jesus loved people who were mean to him. Jesus loves people who’ve done wrong things.  Jesus loves everyone all the time no matter what.

Here’s the crazy part.  Jesus’ love gives us the power to love others in the same way.

Think About It
One simple way to love others is by putting them first.  Let your brother have the first piece of cake. Let your sister pick the first toy.  Let someone else go first in the board game.

They may look at you like you’re crazy, and may be confused why you are being so kind and loving.  If they are, just point to the Bible and explain, “He did it first!”

Pray About It 

Jesus, thank you for loving me every day no matter what.  Please help me to love other people in the same way. Amen.

Talk About It

  1. How does it make you feel when someone else puts you first?
  2. When is it hard for you to let someone go first: taking turns in a game, choosing what to watch, picking your piece of a dessert or something totally different?
  3. What’s one thing you can do to put someone else first this week?

For Grown-Ups

Self-centeredness isn’t just a struggle for kids.  At times we all tend to see ourselves as the center of our own universe.  That’s why it’s such a powerful expression of love to put the good of someone else before our own.  Philippians 2:3-4 gives us a clear picture of what it can look like to love others like Jesus loves us:  “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (MSG).  Jesus put us first on the cross.  Let that love transform you this week as you lay down your life for others.

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