Priorities

The Bible is crystal clear about our priorities: Put God first. Put people second. Matthew 6:33 spells it out for us. Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Jesus made this promise while chastising His disciples for their unbelief toward God and their anxiety about life’s provision. Jesus promised faithful and complete blessings for the person who gives God priority over everything else.

But what does this mean for our families? Establishing priorities in our lives and homes is a high-stakes issue. It’s the difference between being blessed or battered, intimate or enemies, a success or a statistic.

And it doesn’t happen by accident. Successful families are purposeful about their priorities. They structure it into their lives. They arrange their decisions, practices, and lifestyles to reflect it.

Honor God first. Then honor your family.

There’s nothing new or surprising about that order of priorities. I’ve found that most Christians agree with the idea that God should come first and family next. But I’ve also found that much of our agreement is just lip service.

We’ll nod our heads in understanding when we read it. We’ll give a hearty “Amen” when the pastor says it at church. But it doesn’t always translate into our everyday lives.

What we need to understand is that intentions are not always reality. You may have heard something like the old adage that says “the road to ruin is paved with good intentions.”

Intent is fine, but it has to unite with the willingness to actually make difficult daily choices. It must be accompanied by a readiness to say no to competing demands. Until we follow up intent with action, we won’t find the blessing and harmony we’re looking for.

Husbands, how does your life reflect your priorities? When your wife looks at the way you live, does she conclude that you are living for God or living for something else? Does she feel like you pay more attention to your work, your colleagues, your email or your phone than you do to her?

Fathers, when your children look back on their childhood, what we they remember? Will it be a dad who was always at work or, when he did come home, was always distracted? Or will it be a dad who played with them, who taught them, who gave them attention, who treated their mom with honor and respect?

Wives, what does your life say about your priorities? Does your husband look at you and see someone distracted by friends and activities and Facebook? Someone whose mind is pulled toward work or selfish pursuits rather than home? Someone who seems to nag more than love?

Mothers, how will your kids remember you? As a mother who stressed out, worried, and hovered…or a mom who prayed, who trusted God, and who taught her kids to love others?

Your real priorities are visible in the way you live. I encourage you to pay whatever price is necessary to establish them in your life.


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