What is most important to you? Is it your job? Your bank account? Maybe most important in your life is your wife/husband, or your children.
The Bible is pretty clear about what should be of most value in our lives – and none of the above qualify! No – I am not trying to say that family and making a living do not have importance. But what did Jesus say to put these things in perspective?
Luke 14:26 gives us one clear picture of priorities:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
WOW! But I thought Jesus was all about “love”…?
God’s Word cannot contradict itself, nor is God the author of confusion. So what are we to do with this passage? Hint – compare it to another record of the words of Christ when He was asked what the greatest commandment is (Luke 22:37-39)-
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
What we see is that God must be what we value most of all – indeed a love that consumes our entire being (heart, soul, mind – literally all of our being). Then – enabled by that love, we are to love our neighbors “as” ourselves – more literally, above our own benefit.
This is the core message of our Christian Freedom – that we are not to use our freedoms in Christ (or our fleshly freedom as a citizen of the United States) as an excuse to hurt, get ill-gotten gains, or to build ourselves up. Instead, we are to use it to the lifting up and betterment of others – even to the point of placing others before ourselves (humility – 1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
Serving the Lord, working for the Kingdom – should be our first priority. Yes, you can serve and work in the context of your family. Yes, you can bring honor and glory to God through the activities you engage in. But let us also see what scripture says about our commitment to one-another as brothers and sisters in Christ…
Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (The KJV translates it “preferring one another”).
John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Hebrews 10:25 “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Each of these is situated squarely in context of the local body of believers. As we value our Lord – for Who He is, and for what He has done on our behalf – literally what He has provided salvation from – how can we not love Him above all things, and through that overflowing love, then love our neighbors – and as Jesus said, be identified – not so much by our words, but by our actions and relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:35).
What does your life portray as your highest value? What have we endured or surrendered for the cause of Christ or for the edifying and strengthening of our brothers and sisters in Christ? What have we given for the promotion of Jesus Christ to the lost?
What do you value?