Setting Right Ones
If you had to decide what really counts in life what would it be? What should be our priorities? How can we focus on things that matter and disregard the nonessentials in our materialistic society?
Deciding key priorities is something all of us should think about. What really counts? What about our stuff, degrees, sports or politics? Where do they fit in if at all?
Things that Matter?
If we were to really set our minds on following the bible's guidelines there are certain things we would or wouldn't do. Here is what we found.
For one thing, we wouldn't worry about or focus on our houses, furnishings, money, clothes, skinny-weight, excessive body-building, looks, age, cars, sports, degrees, jobs, prestige, or political activism. They might be a small part of our lives. But, they wouldn't be the entire focus of our existence.
Do you agree?
We read in the Bible:
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world" (1 John 2:15-16, ESV).
"To love the world" in this context means that we give ourselves totally to those things of the world to the diminishing of the things the Bible says pleases God.
Doing Nothing to Fight the Status Quo
Sometimes giving 110% is not such a good idea when it means that we forget the things of God. This is because most of us have substituted the worldly things with the true biblical values. We have it backwards! We are drowning ourselves and our kids in materialism and values that are not important…and we do nothing to fight it.
Toss the Junk&Misplaced Loyalties
So, we need to evaluate those things that have a hold on us, then get rid of the things that clutter up our days and lives. This will probably be painful for many of us. Tossing the junk and misplaced loyalties is easier said than done.
Each of us needs to make his or her own list. But, it could be things as simple as to stop watching secular TV 4 -6 hours per day. Psalm 101:2 reminds us:
"I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless." I am pretty sure T.V. would qualify as something "worthless" before my eyes in my house. Ooops…
It could also include complicated endeavors such as stepping back from political aspirations, rallies or causes which can confuse our loyalties between the things of God and the things of earth, if we are not discerning about it.
Some Christians would disagree with this move. They see politics as "getting things done" in a positive way.
But, it might help to remember who rules this earth right now anyway? (See John 14:30, Eph. 2:2, 2 Cor. 4:4). Our kingdom is not of this world. In fact, we understand that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19, ESV).
A key theme in Scripture is to examine oneself continuously and then leave behind temporal values and focus upon things that count for eternity. This is because:
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10, NKJV).
What is Judged?
Here is a simple little list we can focus upon in our daily lives in order to unclutter our minds and lives:
1. Our Words…"people will give account for every careless word they speak…" (Matt.12:36-37). We can watch what we say.
2. Our Motives…"the Lord…will disclose the purposes of the heart" (1 Cor. 4:5). We can daily confess our sins that include bad motives (1 John 1:9).
3. Our Works…"God is not so unjust as to overlook your work…" (Hebrews 6:10). We can deliberately purpose to do kind and good things for one another.
What Deeds are Rewarded?
Doing good (Eph. 6:7-8).
Supporting Ministries (Matt. 10:41).
Being persecuted for righteousness sake (Matt. 5:11-12).
Giving to the Lord (Matt. 6:20-21, Mark 12:43, 1 Tim. 6:17-19).
Loving your enemies (Luke 6:32, Luke 6:35).
Faithful Work (Col. 3:22-24).
Becoming skillful in using the Scripture&Teaching others about God's Word (Heb. 5:12-13, 2 Tim. 2:15).
We need to evaluate those things that take up our time and see if the things we do are included in this list.
Surprisingly, what counts most is not necessarily our traditional, biological families, either. Surprised? We have made our kids and families into almost cult-like status and idol-worship in our culture. Yet, Jesus said,
"Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Jesus asked. …"Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" (Matthew 12:48-50, ESV).
Relationships for an Eternity
Hmmm…maybe believers should try to treat each other a little better. After all, we are "stuck" with each other for eternity! These are forever-relationships.
Ever thought about this? We need to start thinking about our heavenly family daily. Our Bible-toting friends here will continue to be our Bible-toting friends there. Wow…
Encouraging and assembling with each other means going to church and home bible-studies as well as social events. Let's not just casually "date" our churches and groups.
Instead, we need to spend time and stay the course. "Hang in there." (If we don't do it now, we will then, that's for sure. We'll find it's a part of our judgment before God - Hebrews 6:10). Ouch!
You Can Take it with You!
If you are a believer, there is one thing you have today that you will have for eternity: God's Word. We will have His Word with us in heaven (see references below). The time to begin to learn and memorize Bible verses is now. It is never too late. It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 90. Begin to learn the Bible and study it now.
Get involved with or start a group of people who really want to study and memorize God's book.
That is easier said than done. But God promises to honor it.
- Study it.
- Memorize it.
- Pray it.
"The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever" (1 Peter 1:24-25, ESV).
"Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens" (Psalm 119:89, ESV).
"For You have magnified Your word above your name" (Psalm 138:2, NKJV).
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away" (Matthew 24:35, NASB).
I think Lord Yeshua is telling us His Word is important, too. At any rate, these are just little things to think about as we go about daily life…