Essential relates to what is absolutely necessary and extremely important. We must make these a matter of priority, for although some things are desirable they are not vital. The logical approach is to do what must be done first, then if there is time, money or resources available consider attending to the non-essential matters.  Pray for wisdom to

The urgent should not crowd out the necessary

accurately evaluate what is vital and have clear boundaries so you maintain your relationship with God and fulfill your calling without being side-tracked into doing nice yet unprofitable things. Clarify your crucial, non-negotiable, ‘must do’ things – what you will not compromise.  Martha was being a good hostess, while Mary was receiving the essential, life-changing eternally beneficial truth from Jesus (Lk 10:41,42).

Regardless of what else a person does or doesn’t do in life, it is crucial they become a child of God and walk with Him to avoid eternal damnation (Jn 1:12, 3:36). Do I walk humbly with God, listening for His voice of guidance?

In our Christian walk we should have a clear grasp of the core foundational truths or principles of the Bible that relate directly to salvation and God's identity (2 Tim 2:15). Generally these Bible teachings have become doctrine or recognised beliefs and need to be passed on through discipleship. Jesus instruction was to not just preach the gospel and baptise those who believe but for them to 'do' what He had taught the disciples (Mt 28:19,20). These crucial facts are to shape our beliefs and so be reflected in our lifestyle. Without agreement with others in these matters we can't have true Christian fellowship. Remember we are answerable to God as to how we have lived according to the directives He has given (Jn 12:48; Heb 9:27). We must not allow ourselves to compromise, be distracted from or diverted from obeying the clear teaching of Scripture, nor to fail fulfilling our specific calling in the Kingdom of God. Satan has a range of tactics He uses, attempting to get us deceived and diverted into things of lesser consequence and of little eternal significance. Busyness in life can be a distraction to keep you occupied and exhausted, preventing meaningful involvement and relationship with God, spouse or family.

Beyond the non-negotiable principles that form the basis of true Christianity there are numerous areas, where believers should show humility and understanding to those holding a different perspective. These can be considered as matters of conviction of moral and theological importance that you believe the Bible addresses in a clear and unmistakable way, yet there are also scriptures that seem to present a completely different perspective such as the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit and eternal security. Liberty is to be extended to those who maintain alternative positions, and although being firmly convinced in our own mind we should diligently study the Bible, and change our stance if our understanding is further enlightened, however we are not to argue over disputable matters (Act 17:11; Rom 14:1,5). Matters of conscience relate to things not specifically addressed in the Bible, or unclear because of cultural considerations and challenges of translation. This includes things such as social drinking and the degree of modesty in dress. Again mature and devoted believers sometimes disagree in these important areas yet love and honour is to be extended aware that we are not to cause another to stumble by what we approve (1 Cor 8:9-13). Matters of choice are things about which the Bible is silent, allowing believers to exercise discretion, discernment and preference, such as community involvement and dietary choices. While we are 'free in Christ' this is not a freedom to indulge our sinful nature, to remain in sin or hold convictions contrary to the Bible (Rom 6:1,2; Gal 5:13).

See also: busyness, belief/believe, call/calling, conviction, deviate, distraction, doctrine, foundational truths, important, non-negotiable, perspective, priority, tolerate.