Prioritizing Jesus matters for every part of your life, including the small things.
We've all had heroes we admire. Heroes are those rare people who rise above their circumstances to show outstanding bravery and courage to do right. (Consider how David rose above his meager shepherding background to fight Goliath.) Have you ever considered what makes some people heroes and others not?
Hero after hero, when asked why they acted heroically, will tell you that they just did what any normal person would do—even when there was a crowd watching (and not helping) them. Neuroscientists now believe that heroes are born from the small decisions in life. We train ourselves through our every action. (For more see RadioLab podcast: How to Be a Hero.) The training we give ourselves is ultimately what shines through when tough times come. If you train yourself correctly, when trials arise you will act rightly without even thinking about it. You will be a hero.
Similarly, training yourself improperly will cause you to act unrighteously and selfishly. This is visible in both the most vicious of serial killers who practice their evil by torturing animals and also in the people we meet everyday. I know an elderly man who exemplifies this truth. He is like a ship being smashed into the rocks. He is unmovable, self assured in his pride, and certain he is the only one who knows best. He is the culmination of a lifetime of choices and reassuring oneself that: "I am smart" and "I am wise." When trials come his way, his actions are selfishly motivated and he is certain to do the wrong thing.
As Christians we ought to make good decisions throughout out life, aiming to be the godly men & women God calls us to be. We should be working daily toward becoming spiritual heroes. By making the right small decisions we make ourselves more like Jesus; we prepare ourselves to handle crisis like the spiritual heroes in the Bible. We prepare ourselves for our own Goliath. So that when he/she says, “I cheated on you,” or you lose your child; your faith will not be shattered because you are well practiced in standing and saying: “I don’t know why You’ve done this, but I know that You are good.” You will show your ability to rise above your circumstances because it seems only natural to you. Right now being able to stand firm in such calamity may seem impossible, but God provided the path in His Word, and if you are diligent to follow it, the rewards are innumerable.
We are often tempted to say things like “Life is too busy right now” or “I don’t have time to do that now, but when I’m done with school, get this new job, or the kids move out, then I’ll have time for God.” What’s so easy for us to miss, is how backwards this prioritizing is. It’d be like if your child came up to you and said: “Mom. Dad. I know that learning the alphabet is important, but I’ve got too much going on right now to learn it. I need to master writing and get through school before I concern myself with the alphabet. I promise that when I turn 25, I’ll have time for learning my ABC’s.” How would you respond to that? It’s ridiculous! How can you learn to write, if you don’t know the ABC’s that you’d be writing? How can you be successful in school if that basic building block of your education eludes you? Your child, by misplacing his/her priorities, will experience a harder time in school and life. They will experience grief, sadness, and burnout as they try to navigate the world while missing the basics.
It’s the same with us when we make life, work, money, family, or our marriage a priority over God. Do you want to be successful in those things? Do you want a successful marriage? Then, begin to learn the most basic building blocks first. Learn to love and follow Jesus as a primary function of your life and then you will be on the path to success.
Living a Christ centered life will change your very nature. It will make you more humble, gracious, compassionate, and loving.
Success doesn’t mean that life will be easy. We are called to a life of hardship, but being a spiritual hero isn’t about an easy life, it’s about a joy filled life. A life that smiles at hardship knowing that through it you’ll be better equipped to rejoice when God’s glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:12-16). A heart that knows that fullness of joy is the heart that has been spending time in the presence of Jesus (Psalm 16:11).
In the end, we all grow up to be who we are based on the choices we made when we were younger. What you prioritize in your life now will determine who you become. Over the next five weeks we will talk about four areas that will help you prioritize Jesus: Consistent Biblical Meditation, Devotion to Prayer, Personal Worship, and Solid Accountability. These will help give us strength when life gets busy and hard. It will also help us love God more.
There’s no reason to wait; most of us will have more free time now then we’ll have in a year or two. Training ourselves now through consistent Biblical meditation, devotion to prayer, personal worship, and solid accountability will help give us the strength we need when life gets busier and harder and crisis hits. Doing these four things also fulfills the Greatest Commandment—prioritizing a love for God (Matt 22:37-38). This week we begin a five part series on prioritizing these four disciplines and how they make us better Christians and therefore better spouses.
Living a Christ centered life will change your very nature. It will make you more humble, gracious, compassionate, and loving. As I studied these truths, I found myself more full of joy and passion, I pray this series would change you similarly and that you would find hope and joy by putting these principles into practice.
There’s no reason to wait; most of us will have more free time now then we’ll have in a year or two.
In part two of this series we will talk about how meditating on God's word helps us put our priorities right. Read it here.