Living with God’s Priorities
Recently, someone asked me on the blog what I meant when I wrote in an earlier post: “God never wants you to substitute the good for the very best.” Allow me to explain. As pastors, we need to understand this distinction very clearly.
There’s an old saying I often repeat. “Life is like a coin; you can spend it any way you wish, but you can only spend it once.” That means life is filled with choices. The choice between bad and good is relatively easy. It’s a lot harder when we have to choose between the good and the better . . . and especially between the better and the best.
Those choices are closely related. What’s worse, we may find most of them satisfying. But in the final analysis, it’s our choice that makes the difference between pleasing God and pleasing our egos. In a word, the crucial issue is this: What is your priority?
You don’t have to look long or hard to find Jesus’s instruction on priorities. He states it clearly in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” Above and beyond everything else, seek this first.
That command is so clear, we don’t even have to pray about our top priority. If I am to seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first and foremost, then whatever I do ought to relate to that. How should I spend my time? Whom should I marry (if you’re single)—or should I marry at all? What church should I serve?
Sometimes all of our choices are good. So how do we tell the difference between what’s good and God’s best?
It helps me to determine priorities by asking pointed questions like: Why should I do this? Is it for His kingdom? What’s my main motive? Will this choice uphold His righteousness? Will this church, or person, or decision allow me to be strategic for His kingdom?
Let’s dig even deeper. Are you ready for some thoughtful questions? Brace yourself. Don’t just glance through them. Be courageous to pause and address each one:
- What is robbing God of first place in your life? What are you gripping too tightly? An important relationship? Your reputation? Your position? Some dream or objective?
- Look at your calendar. Have you reserved time each day to be with God?
- Look at your relationships. Does interaction with your spouse center on God’s priorities? Are you leading your family with God’s will in first place?
- Look at your checkbook. Are you investing in God-honoring ministries (outside of your own)—ones that are biblically centered, focused fully on reaching the world?
If I could give Matthew 6:33 to you in one succinct sentence it would be this: Our choice of priorities determines the level of our commitment to Christ. Whoever or whatever is in first place in your life, if it isn’t the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s in the wrong place.
Often the good things we’re tempted to say “yes” to are those activities that boost our glory rather than God’s. Not always, mind you . . . but often. It’s worth serious evaluation.
Life is like a coin; you can spend it any way you wish, but you can only spend it once. How are you spending it?