Purifying our Priorities (Part 1)

Well, folks…it’s that time of year again.

  • HR Block is heating up its campaign…
  • Companies are sending out their W-2/1099’s…
  • TV’s are going on sale’
  • …and New Year resolutions are officially underway2.

After all, ’tis the season to be better, right? To start afresh and anew…and to grab change by the horns…

But perhaps you’re like me in the sense you wonder how many really know how to do this…or maybe you’re hesitant…afraid of prematurely falling off the resolution bandwagon.

Whatever the case, it’s important we get real about the type of world we live in. ‘Cause when we take a good, hard look into the deep, dark crevices of our culture, we find we’ve grown too content taking matters into our own hands…yet too passive in carrying them out…

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…a paradoxical attribute of a society that constantly suggests having a heartfelt desire is “good enough”.

Not that “heartfelt desires” are bad; by all means, we were created to have them.

I’m just saying if we truly want to reach the next level (in any phase of life), it doesn’t make sense to be self-reliant, given the human tendency to fall short and mishandle change. Conversely, if we want to see growth become a permanent reality in our life, we not only have to accept the existence of a higher alternative, but we must be willing to depend on it as a supreme solution that exists (and only exists) in God Himself.

All that said… How do we turn our heartfelt desires, the seeds God’s plants within us, into lasting realities? How do we change from the inside out in a way that takes deep root within?

Before we can answer these questions with a customized five-point self-improvement series3, I submit we must first be willing to purify our priorities…

…which can only happen when we become intentional in spending time with God.

But first..what exactly is a “priority”?

According to the Random House Websters Dictionary...

  • priority is “something that’s regarded as more important…a right to precede above in rank, privilege, etc. …
  • …and “to prioritize” is a process by which we arrange, particularly in order of importance, relevance, value, etc.

Thus, when we consider what a priority is…and apply it to morality…our faith, we ultimately discover the importance of recognizing God’s priorities for our life.

Take Philippians 1, for instance, where in verses 9-10, Paul prays for the Philippians’ love to abound all the more so they could better discern and approve the things that are excellent4.

Essentially, Paul is saying: if you’re feeling overcommitted, overloaded, overwhelmed…if you’re mired in apathy, confusion, striving…or simply trying to decide what is best, what’s best for your spiritual well-being…and those around you…the answer is simple: love at all costs!

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‘Cause at the end of the day, we all need Jesus in the middle of our everything…not only so we can conquer the burdens of life…but so we can love better in every circumstance (hence Paul’s use of the word “abound”).

My thought is: let’s be unified in seeking first the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) together…in being fervent in loving one another (1 Peter 4:8; Colossians 3:14)…so we may…

  • Better identify what’s most important in our own life…
  • Better concentrate on the relationships God has called us to…
  • Be quicker in our humble obedience…
  • Be more available to God, our family, those God has called us to be around…
  • Use time more effectively, including family and ministry time (and not sacrificing one for the other)…

…all the while being Spirit-led everywhere in between.

Stay tuned next time for “part 2” of this series, where I’ll discuss a couple practical pointers on how we can better engage God in our midst and live transformationally in 2016.

Footnotes

1) In prep for the Super Bowl

2) Take a good, hard look at gym attendance…and you’ll see what I mean

3) Granted, this is a popular trend this time of year

4) I don’t know about you, but I love this association, specifically how Paul links “the greatest gift of all” (i.e. “love”) to our call to judge righteously.

Photo creds: lightwork.typepad.com, quotesgram.com, indy.shine.fm

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