The beginning of a new year is always a fitting time to evaluate our lives. We all know how easy it is to get out of balance, lose perspective, and completely miss the point of our existence: individual, family and church. We can be thankful that Jesus Christ never lost perspective and completely fulfilled all righteousness for those the Father gave to Him. One slip by Him and the whole world would have perished. His perfection qualified Him to be the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Because of Him, the pressure is off of us! The pressure of justifying ourselves before a thrice holy God!
It is true that the pressure is off in that sense, but don’t you have that motivation within you that leads you to want to serve and please the One who gave Himself for you? This article is calling you to evaluation in this sense. Living in this flesh, with the constant call of the world, it is real easy to get distracted. Listening to the constant chatter of religious leaders can lead one to confusion. What should come first in my life? There are many good things in this life that God has given to us to enjoy, but what should be our priority? Let’s see if we can find some Biblical answers.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-34, Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
That’s a hard saying, but Jesus makes it clear that family cannot be the number one priority in our lives. There are times when choices must be made that clearly will upset family members. It really ought not be such a shock to us when someone in our family becomes our foe. If we are following Christ as we ought to, certainly there will be times of tension and maybe even division in our families.
If we are driven by family relationships, then our choices will reflect that priority. We will seek to keep the peace at all costs, which according to Jesus may be too great a price to pay. We must not be family driven believers, but believers who are motivated by a commitment to Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul addresses the matter of priority in I Timothy 1:6-11, But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Similar to Jesus’ words in Matthew, Paul emphasizes the danger of pursuing money and riches in this life. When our lives are controlled by pursuits after money and that which money might bring us in this world, we are missing the mark. Having riches is not the issue. Pursuing them is. Making choices in life in regard to jobs, career, purchases, residence and many other things associated with money will only lead to destruction – spiritual disaster.
Paul doesn’t simply speak negatively, but addresses the proper priority. Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness are to be the pursuits of the believer. Our lives are to be about fighting in faith, not living in the lap of luxury. Our priority must not be the pursuit of wealth. Handling our finances so as to build wealth is not a Christian priority! Better is poverty with godliness and contentment, than much wealth and spiritual bankruptcy
If our priorities are right, then we will have a proper relationship with things, family, jobs, money and all other earthly matters. Too many Christians are focusing upon possessions, family, finances, jobs and other earthly things as if these are the proper priority. All of these things are proper and wholesome in their place. But let us make sure that each of these things are in their proper place and then we will make choices that reflect a heart supremely in love with the invisible God! Then will we be demonstrating in our lives that Jesus Christ is the priority, not just a name used to dress up our earthly and worldly pursuits.
Colossians 3:1,2, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Seeking to establish proper priorities in 2006,
Kyle White, Pastor