Today we wrap up our theme for September: Back to School.
The Priorities Test—this is our most important test in the school of life because it asks, “Who and what is most important.”
When I was newly married, my husband was my top priority. I remember thinking of ways to make our little apartment special for him. I thought about foods to prepare that I knew he enjoyed. I made sure that I looked nice when he got home from work. I wanted to be the best wife for him because I loved him.
Five years and three children later, my priorities had slowly shifted. It wasn’t intentional, mind you. Children demand a lot of a mother, especially in their early years.
There are a number of reasons our priorities become compromised. Life has a way of providing situations, circumstances, and relationships that test what’s truly most important to us. If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves involved in things that do not reflect what our real priorities are.
Because life is ever-changing, we are faced with a priorities test on a regular basis. The trouble is, many times we don’t even realize it. We carry on, dealing with situations as they come. That is, until something of significance happens that forces us to reevaluate our priorities.
These are tests. It could be a car accident, an unexpected death, or a serious health issue like cancer.
God has given us a blueprint for our priorities and He kept it really simple. We should love Him above all else, seeking His kingdom first and all of the other things in life fall into place.
GOD PROVIDED A SIMPLE BLUEPRINT FOR PRIORITIES: LOVE HIM ABOVE ALL ELSE, SEEKING HIS KINGDOM FIRST & ALL ELSE FALLS INTO PLACE.
— Beckie Lindsey (@BeckieLindsey_) September 28, 2015
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
By all means, I’m still a work in progress. I don’t claim to have my life in perfect balance. But I have learned a few things that have brought me some peace and better balance of priorities.
Could you use some more balance and more peace in your life?
In order to get our lives and priorities in balance, we must first take a look at where we are spending our time. This shouldn’t be a onetime event. I have gotten in the habit of reevaluating my life priorities on a yearly basis. If something of significance, like a major change, such as an illness occurs, I may reevaluate sooner.
What Does your life say about your priorities?
Do you really know what your priorities are?
Pastor Rick Warren, author of A Purpose Driven Life, says there’s a simple way to determine what your priorities are by asking yourself three questions:
The Priorities Test
What do you think about the most?
Where does your money go first?
How do you spend your time?
Another thing I have found effective is to ask a family member or close friend to list what they believe are your top priorities.
Once you’ve answered the three questions from Rick Warren and gotten the list back from your family member/friend, it’s time to evaluate.
If things are not in proper balance, the first place to start is prayer.
Most of us realize that God should be our top priority, however seeking God first can be easier said than done. The good news is, God wants to help. He knows our weaknesses and things that distract us. Even when we are unfaithful, He is still faithful to us. He is waiting for us to ask for His help in getting our priorities right.
In John 10:10, Jesus said, “…My purpose it to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
The key to having this rich and satisfying life is to keep God in His rightful place in our priorities. God said to Abraham, “Walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect” (Genesis 17:1 AMP).
Notice that God instructed Abraham to be habitual in walking with Him and living for Him. We can do this by establishing daily habits of prayer, worship and time in the Word.
Here’s the hitch: God doesn’t just want to be at the top of our to-do list. He wants to be the center of everything in our lives. This is why He said we must love Him with all that we are.
When I was young in my faith, I realized that I didn’t really love God like that. I was so ashamed. Aren’t Christians supposed to love God? I mean He sent His son to die for us.
The truth was, I didn’t have enough of a relationship with God to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
I didn’t really know God. How do you love someone that you don’t really know?
For me, it started with obedience. I realized God wanted me to read the Bible, and I figured that was the best way to get to know Him.
So, I made God’s word and prayer my top priority. Guess what? My attitude about God slowly began to change. What started as an act of obedience, over time turned into a love relationship.
Today I can tell you that I truly love the Lord! I also love the Bible! It is amazing. It contains wisdom, comfort, inspiration, encouragement for every conceivable human problem or issue. God’s Word brings peace and stability to our spirits and will renew our minds (Romans 12:2).
Friends, the Christian life is a process. When you were a baby, did you just get up and walk? Of course not. It was a process. Even when you started walking, it was clumsy and you often fell down.
When we make a decision to put God as our first priority and in the center of our lives, we must remember that too, is a process.
Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
The enemy (the thief) wants us to fail in making God a priority. He knows the potential that lies within a surrendered heart for God. He stops at nothing to trip us up. But Jesus said,
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Yes, we will have many tests and trials in the school of life. But we are not alone!
God’s greatest desire is a love relationship with you.
Will you choose to make Him the center of your life today?
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Takeaway and Application: Getting our priorities in order is not a onetime thing. Situations in life may warrant a reevaluation.
Begin with prayer (see below).Take the priorities test above and evaluate any necessary changes. Make spending time with God in His word, prayer and worship your first priority.
Prayer: Father God, I truly want to make You first in my life. I know that the other areas in my life will fall into place as I seek You and Your ways first. Please guide me as I seek to spend time with You everyday. Keep my heart and mind open to how I should apply Your word to my life. Help me be habitual in my walk with You like Abraham. As I seek to obey You, help me to learn how to love You and be loved by You. Then I will be able to love others the way You call me too.
In Jesus’ name, amen.