What Does God Want Our Priorities to Be and Where Does Work Fall in That List?
German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe grasped the importance of priorities. He said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Stephen R. Covey in his bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People put it this way: “As a longtime student of this fascinating field [of life and time management], I am personally persuaded that the essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities.” He also wrote: “One of my favorite essays is ‘The Common Denominator of Success’ written by E.M. Gray. He spent his life searching for the one denominator that all successful people share.
God knows us better than we know ourselves and He has made His will known to us. Since He is God our Creator, Sustainer, and Father, He knows what is best for our life now and our life to come. As we read through the written Word of God, we can see the priorities that God has established for our life. A priority is “the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.” To prioritize means “to arrange or do in order of priority” or “to give a high priority to”. We need to recognize the priorities that God wants in our life. Paul the apostle prays that the Philippians may “approve the things that are excellent”. This may be translated, “distinguish between the things which differ” (margin) or “decide what is best”. We need to be able to look at the alternatives and choose what is most pleasing to God, what is for our spiritual wellbeing, and what would be a blessing to others. With this known, we can better prioritize the numerous activities that compete for our attention. When we seek Scriptural priorities, we discover those relationships, activities, and pursuits that should precede others in term of rank and order. God does want us to prioritize all of the possible activities in life according to these spiritual priorities. What does God’s Word say should be our priorities?
Make it your goal to have a deep, intimate relationship with God. Let Him into every area of your life. If you constantly look to other people for answers and validation, pray about this and ask the Lord to help you stop doing that and instead look to Him. (See 1 Thessalonians 2:4.) As we live to please God, He promises to bless our lives and make us prosper. When you decide to serve God with your whole heart and make Him first in your life, your soul will prosper and your joy and peace will increase. Remember to lean on Him more than anything else, and tell Him, “God, I want to do this, but I can’t do it without You.” He doesn’t expect you to live for Him in your own strength or ability, and He understands when you make mistakes. The key to having God’s “abundant life”—His love, peace and joy—is keeping Him in His rightful place in our priorities. God said to Abraham, …Walk [habitually] before Me [with integrity, knowing that you are always in My presence], and be blameless and complete [in obedience to Me] (Genesis 17:1 AMP). Notice that God instructed Abraham to be habitual in walking with Him and living for Him. We can do this by establishing daily habits of prayer, worship and regular, consistent time spent in His Word. I love the Word of God! It is amazing. It contains wisdom, encouragement, comfort and inspiration for every conceivable human problem or dilemma. His Word brings peace and stability to our spirits, and it will renew our minds (see Romans 12:2). Get excited about getting into the Bible!
Ordinarily, the answer to frustrations about what we should be doing--today and next week and next year--lies in where God figures in our lives. By changing our focus from seeking our peer's praise to finding acceptance in God, our capacity and wisdom will increase enabling us to follow all that God commands. Such nagging thoughts as, "I don't think I can ever make it" or "Have I done enough?" will be replaced with greater desires to serve God out of love for him.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Genesis 17:1 AMPC
Thessalonians 2:4 ESV