What are your priorities in life? Let’s not even talk yet about the order of your priorities. Let’s just identify the priorities themselves.
Let’s see … there’s work (gotta pay the bills, right?), family (they are the reason we have bills), hobbies (“me” time), friends (we don’t want to get isolated), church (don’t want to get in trouble with God), education (we don’t want our kids being “ignernt“), work (yes, we’ve already listed that one, but the bills were a little more than we anticipated), and God (church is not the only place we think about Him … hopefully).
Maybe we better throw in some community service (if it helps us look good and make some “connections,” makes us feel better about ourselves, makes our communities safer for our kids, or supports the causes that are important to us).
I hope that doesn’t sound cynical. That’s not my intent. I do think, however, that we tend to identify priorities based on a self-centered approach to life. By self-centered, I don’t mean selfish or self-absorbed. A person can be self-centered and generous towards others at the same time.
I think of self-centered this way: every decision is determined by my preferences, my values, my passions, my beliefs, my needs, my desires, my goals, my vision, my energy, my time, my priorities, my calling, my ministry …
So, if I am a person of faith and I start to order my priorities according to the way I have likely been taught in church, it looks a lot like this: God first, then family, then work, then self. So, how does that work?
Well, God first means that I pray and read my Bible every day and go to church as much as possible. Perhaps community service falls under the “God first” category and I’ll support an organization that is consistent with my faith perspective.
Family second means that I will give as much time and attention to them as possible. I’ll put education under this and try to provide for their current and future needs. I’ll also make sure that they are in church so that their faith journey is nurtured.
In my work life, I’ll work hard and long and give the very best to my employer so that I can advance, earn a good living for my family, support my church, and set aside something for retirement.
And then whatever is left, I can think about hobbies and personal needs, since self is last.
Sounds good, right? Except God doesn’t want to be in first place in your life.
What? Heresy! Blasphemy!
I’m not suggesting that anything other than God belongs in first place. I’m suggesting that putting God in any place in your list is still self-centered. Our lives matter too much to God for us to live by a list. I’m suggesting that our lives need less prioritizing and more centering. And what belongs at the center is not a what, but a Who.
Our lives need less prioritizing and more centering. #godcenteredliving Click To Tweet
God wants to be the center of your life. God wants to be your life and live His life through you.
“And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” (Colossians 3:4) [emphasis mine]
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) [emphasis mine]
So, what does a God-centered life look like? I’ll talk about that next week.