I recently completed a personal evaluation that dealt with the value I place on certain activities such as marriage/romance, work, spiritual development, entertainment , friendships (and more) as well as how many hours a week I estimate I spend on them. I don’t recommend you do that. In fact, when I took the survey a few days later, my answers differed quite a bit. Not sure if that was remorse, renewed honesty or just fear someone would see my responses.
Why did I do that, you ask? It was a prelude to working through some evaluations on how I spend and value my time, and where my relationship with God fits in as a priority. By the way, you’ll never see my answer sheet. Regardless of what we say, and we do say some outrageous things, our true priorities are pretty clearly revealed by our use of time, finances and other resources. Jesus stated that the first and greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”(Matt. 22:37) I guess we would all get higher marks if it weren’t for that word “all” interspersed in there so frequently. I’d feel much better if I was graded on a curve.
While the Bible is clear that as followers of Christ we are to make our relationship with God our highest priority, it does not mean that believers should spend all of their time praying, reading the Bible and ministering to others. It’s ok to exhale now. The Bible is also clear that we are to work hard (Col. 3:23) and care for our families (1 Tim. 5:8). The point Jesus was making was that our relationship with God should impact every area of our lives. Why do believers in Christ have difficulty prioritizing their relationship with God? One of the main reasons is that God is invisible, while all others in our lives are very much visible. Visibility tends to improve accountability, as well as affording the development of love and devotion. Our family members, our friends and our co-workers are right in front of us every day, reminding us how important we are to them and how important they are to us. Since we cannot see God, it is more difficult for us to grasp how important we are to Him and how important He is to us.
How do we improve in our understanding?
God’s word, the Bible, is His love letter to us, speaking to us (individually) if we will allow it, telling us how much He loves us and how highly He regards His relationship with us. The key is in His word! As a sample, consider Romans 8:28-39. Here God tells me that He adopted me into His family. He reveals to me that my relationship with Him is His work to me and in me, not something I initiated or sustain. He tells me He made the ultimate sacrifice to pay for my sin so that we could enjoy an eternal relationship. And in great measure (v.31-39) He tells me that nothing can ever affect His love for me.
It is through experiencing and appropriating God’s love through scriptural declarations like these to me that motivates me to seek Him and respond in kind to His love for me. Making a practice of refreshing myself in God’s word, I don’t need to worry about me being a high priority in God’s heart. This same exposure to the heart of God is what continues to motivate me to elevate Him in my priorities. Where does God fit in your long list of priorities? Think About It.