I really appreciated the visit of Steve and Karla on the 31st. Their ministry, House of Refuge Street Ministries, is doing a good work among the poor and disenfranchised in Guatemala.
The message was entitled 'Get Your Priority Straight!' by Rev. Steven Stoffelsen (you can listen to it at www.livingrockchurch.ca). It is what many of us needed to hear. It was a timely word from the Lord about keeping Jesus at the centre of our life. The point was hammered home - Jesus is the priority of life and when we get this priority straight all else will fall into place.
Notice that the word in 'priority' in the title is singular. Often we try to juggle a group of priorities in our life. Our social calendar, our finances, our marriage, our children, our employment - the list could go on and on. The point is that our first and most important priority is Christ and Christ alone.
Jesus always tells the truth and wasn't telling a half truth when He said, "... seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
In other words, put the kingdom of God first, and all other priorities will find themselves their place.
If we get this wrong ... we get it all wrong.
This can be sobering for many of us ... I think we need sobering. Christ is to be the centre, the core, the number one priority.
When other priorities get in front of the all important priority of Christ, things unravel fairly quickly.
I can attest to this truth. Life gets very busy and there are many things that pull at you; work, family obligation, financial pressure, expectations of others - they pile up really fast; Fast & Furious.
I have personally found that if I am not careful to keep Christ as my first priority other things (not necessarily bad things) take His rightful place. It doesn't take long before the stresses of life begin to feel overwhelming and life seems to unravel.
There are some habits that I have found that help keep Jesus as the priority of my life.
Here are my top two:
1) Daily Quiet Time. This will include scripture, prayer and quiet reflection. It includes talking and listening to the still small voice of the Spirit. These are immensely valuable times. Shutting out the world to make special time with the Saviour enables one to keep Him as priority.
2) Regular Worship with others of like faith. People can say what they will but the Bible still declares not to forsake assembling with brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? Because we are called together, called to serve together, worship together and grow together - yea, it can be messy at times but the Bible gives no other model. Jesus, the disciples and the early church modelled this. There is something powerfully motivating in the worship and service of Jesus with others of like faith. This is how can encourage ourselves and one another to keep Jesus as our first priority.
I truly want to encourage you to examine your priorities this week.
Take the verse mentioned above and ask the Lord to talk with you about your priorities. Let the Spirit of the Lord help to reset and realign what comes first in your life - you'll be glad you did.
Question: How many times do other things, even good things, get priority over Christ in life? How does one ensure that Jesus is their first priority in life?