Setting Our Priorities right regarding our God’s connection
The reading today comes from the book of — Psalm 16:8 (NIV)
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
There are many things that can trouble our lives, but none that can shake us loose from the grip of God’s grace if our hearts remain pointed at Jesus as our Lord and our hope remain focused on the Lord’s return. If Jesus is our Lord, then all of life’s greatest blessings lie ahead of us and he will let nothing rob us of this coming glory!
My three top Priorities
The Word of God tells us that it is vital to put our priorities in the right order and then carefully cultivate each one with zeal and enthusiasm. Consider three of the most important eternal priorities.
When God gave the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai, He thundered these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3).
- Mary and Martha Visitation
God does not want us to place anything before Him. His desire is that we worship Him and Him alone. He must come first in our lives. The Bible tells the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha, who were loyal friends of Jesus Christ. When Christ visited them, they wanted to serve Him in the way each considered was most important. Let’s pick up the story:
“A certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’
“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:38-42).
Serving others is highly commended in the Bible, and it is certainly not wrong to serve. But in this instance priorities were an issue. Listening to Christ’s teachings was even more important than food preparation.
- The Apostle John Teachings
How do we demonstrate that we truly love God and want to put His teachings first? The apostle John provides the answer: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The evidence that we love God is our striving to keep His commandments.
“He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him” (1 John 2:4-5, emphasis added).
We have to be honest with ourselves. Are we putting our personal relationship with God first, or are we allowing other aspects of our lives to come before the worship of the true God?
- Priorities that are in Error
The Bible records an incident in which Peter, James, and John, who Christ was asking of to become His disciples, had their priorities right: “So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:11).
On the other hand, the Bible records examples of people who had distorted priorities, and who actually rejected Christ’s offer to become one of His disciples. Read Luke 9:57-62. Apparently, physical comfort and prosperity were of greater importance to some. For others, taking care of family matters was more crucial than supporting Christ in preaching the gospel.
None of their excuses were of themselves wrong. Is it wrong to stay with a father until he dies or to devote an extended period of time to saying farewell to family members? Certainly not! However, Christ was teaching an important lesson: God was not first in their priorities.
Frequently it is difficult to choose between the affairs of this world and Christ’s teachings. Christ stated: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [love less by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27).
Christ did not mean we should stop caring for each member of our family. He was simply teaching that we are to put Him first in our lives. Leaving God out of our planning is unwise (James 4:13-16).
Remember Christ’s words: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Once we have set following Christ as our top priority, there is no going back (Hebrews 10:37-39).
What is the Godly, righteous character?
A well-known educator in religious matters, Herbert W. Armstrong, wrote the following definition of perfect character: “It is the ability, in a separate entity with free moral agency, to come to the knowledge of the right from the wrong—the true from the false—and to choose the right, and possess the will to enforce self-discipline to do the right and resist the wrong” (The Incredible Human Potential, p. 138; see more about Mr. Armstrong in our article “The Church: A Worldwide Work”).
In his book The Death of Character,
James Davison Hunter wrote: “Does character really matter? The collective wisdom of the ages would say it matters a great deal. In both classical and biblical cultures—civilizations that have been so deeply formative to our own—people well understood there to be a direct association between the character of individuals and the well-being of the society as a whole. An individual character was essential to decency, order, and justice within public life. Without it, hardship was not far off. … Indeed, much of the history of the ancient Hebrews can be told as a story of blessing for faithfulness to God—abiding by God’s standard of holiness—and punishment for abandoning those standards” (p. 4).
As a Christian, you have all the responsibility and duty to do according to the will of the Lord. It is never a request, it is always a command. Make it up to your own unique way of responsibly connecting with God. Whether, you are a Christian, Muslim or even Hindu, the biggest load of responsibility towards the Lords Commandments heavily lies upon you. Start today before it is too late. The doors to Heaven are always open. And, the entry fee is already paid for by Jesus when He died on the cross for our sins.
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