Making Priorities Simple

Sam Petitfils

"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating.  Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:28-31

Many people struggle with establishing priorities in their lives: what should I do, where should I go, who shall I marry, and how will I spend my time.  While they try to figure all this out, the clock keeps ticking.  Fortunately, for the child of God, God has already assigned us our priorities.  Here they are:

1.  Love the Lord your God.

As was His practice, Jesus did not make life more complicated, but actually simplified it.  Here He tells a “teacher of the law” what our top priority is, to love God above all else.  Now immediately some will ask, “How does this help me with my questions above?”  They actually help us considerably.  When we love God supremely, everything changes (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).  Loving God certainly affects the following:

Spending time with God.

Attending church.

Reading the Bible.

Seeking guidance.

Avoiding temptation.

Making right moral choices.

So loving God affects everything, and it will cause us to change our basic direction in life, and will take some time.

2. Love others.

When we truly love God, our attitude toward others changes, too.  In fact, we can make no real claim to love God if that love does not change the way we treat others (James 2:15-17; 1 John 3:10; 4:7-8).  Our love to others will show up in almost everything we do:

Not lying to others.

Avoiding defrauding others.

Not cheating.

Exercising fair treatment.

Not prejudging others.

Doing good to others.

Once we set our priorities as God would have them, other matters tend to fall into place (Matthew 6:33).  We will be much more concerned that we spent time with God than whether we got a raise at work.  We will be more troubled if we mistreated someone than if we ourselves were mistreated.  Loving God and others changes everything, and the more we do it the more changes we can expect.  But we can also expect the smile of God on our lives too, something we wouldn’t want to exchange for anything this world offers us.


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