Jesus said, “I came not to do my own will but the will of God” (Jn 6:38). Similarly for us, now we are His redeemed property, living to bring God honour should be our most important responsibility and greatest delight (Eccl 3:14, 12:13; Rev 4:11, 5:12,13).
Is bringing glory to God by seeking Him above all else my top priority?
own but bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19,20)? God declares we are not to have any other gods before Him; He is to be first in our lives – “In all you do put God first” (Ex 20:3; Prov 3:6).
How can we give God first place in our lives? The answer is in Jesus’ summary of the Ten Commandments when He said; “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength (Deut 6:5; Mk 12:30). Note the descending order: heart (spirit), soul and mind (thinking and reasoning), strength (body). The Holy Spirit communes with our spirit, which should govern our minds and the body is to be in submission to the mind. The Bible's advice is to, "Guard your heart more than any treasure for it is the source of all life" – it governs all that we do (Prov 4:23). The second command of Jesus is to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:31). Christ died to redeem people, thus people are of a greater priority and value than possessions. We are to be a servant to others, with our own needs or desires (as a general rule) being compliant to that role, just as Jesus did (Mk 10:45). Obedience to Christ’s commands are of utmost importance.
The believers “gave themselves first to God, then...” which established a sound foundational principle for acting (2 Cor 8:5). In another situation Haggai declared that worship should precede rebuilding the Temple (Hag 1:12,15). Even in prayer, the worship of God ought to come before presenting our requests to Him (Mt 6:9-13).
We should at all times obey God rather than people, regardless of the personal cost, knowing that we are ultimately answerable to Him not others (Act 5:29). Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ of greater importance than earthly treasure or temporary reward (Heb 11:26). The urgent can override the essential. It is important to keep things in true perspective and not let the real priorities be deferred by what seems to be a pressing need demanding our attention.
Are such things as acceptance by the world, sport, power, social standing and fame or wealth of higher importance to us than a deepening
relationship with God, together with character qualities and eternal values? If so, the words of Jesus to the rich man are appropriate –
“You fool, you have not been rich towards God” (Lk 12:16-21). Spending time alone with God in daily prayer and Bible reading to gain
strength and guidance should be a top priority for each believer, rather than as a last resort when things don’t work out any other way.
Mary realised spending time with Jesus was more important than getting anxious over hospitality details like her sister Martha (Lk
10:38-42). Do not let the busyness and activities of life crowd out the ‘receiving time’ of fellowship with the Lord or fulfilling your
Regularly review your priorities
put people’s ideas above God’s word or relationships above principles. Unless we regularly ensure He is first in our lives, other things can ‘just’ crowd Him out resulting in unfruitfulness (Mt 13:22). Evaluate everything – is it fulfilling His purpose for my life? If not be ruthless, knowing that eternity is a long time to live with regret of living by the wrong agenda.
Our priorities are revealed by where our thoughts, energy, time and money are focused and spent. We will give time to those activities we really believe are important. Determine your goals then take the necessary steps to achieve them. King Solomon had his priorities right when he asked for wisdom to govern the nation rather than selfishly seeking personal wealth and fame (2 Chr 1:7-12). On the other hand, the religious leaders were not fulfilling their responsibilities in doing what God required (Mal 2:1,2). Is tithing and giving to God’s work a priority, an action taken seriously, or do we just give a little of what we don’t need (Mal 3:8-10; Lk 21:1-4). Are we storing up temporary treasure on earth or permanent riches in heaven, for where our treasure is, there our heart will also be (Mt 6:19-21)?
Establishing priorities is a key to time management – what must be done, what would be advantageous if there was time and money available, and elimination of what isn’t necessary at all.
Caring for and teaching our children should be the highest priority in our social relationships (1 Tim 3:5). Communicating the gospel in some form should also be at the top of our ‘doing list’.
See also: call/calling, first, focus, goal, great commandment, perspective.