Jesus clearly states what our priorities as Christians should look like in Matthew 6:31-33:
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
God knows we need to get things done, need to make money, and need to take care of our commitments. However, seeking His kingdom, not ours, is what He requires to be “first.” This is what sets us apart from the world. While the world maximizes their time on the “cares of life,” we are to focus on the eternal priority of God’s kingdom. His kingdom is not made up of things or possessions, but on an eternal relationship with Jesus.
Where our love lies is found in what we seek the most. When we “seek first” our productivity and financial increase above God’s kingdom, it is proof that we love these things greater than we love Jesus. Our “treasure” is forever connected to our heart . . . and where heart is, there will be our love.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)
Seeking Jesus first – making Him the highest priority – is an indication of our love for Him. In fact, we are commanded to love Him with all we are, not just some of it. However, when our time and physical efforts are solely focused on our agenda and our needs, the proof of our love is weak. We may say that we love Jesus, but consistently, our actions speak louder than words.
Prioritize Like Jesus
If there was anyone who could make the excuse by saying “I’m too busy,” it was Jesus. People were constantly drawing on His time and attention. The religious leaders often sought for His death. Even His disciples were needy. But despite all His needs, He was the perfect example of godly prioritization. He wouldn’t ask us to do something He wasn’t willing to do or hadn’t done Himself. We will never find an example of Him worrying about tomorrow, or seeking His agenda first. He was consistently getting away from the crowds to spend time with the Father, and He obeyed God in every area (John 5:19, John 6:38).
As His disciples, we are to do the same:
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps . . . (Peter 2:21)
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5: 1-2)
So practically, how would we live a life where Jesus is first? How would we prioritize so we’re never too busy for Him? Here are a few areas we can daily subject to Jesus for His review:
Commit to Jesus – Every day we should be saying, “Not My will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). God is looking for a life of surrender. He is, after all, our Lord. His commitment to our salvation meant we have eternal life. This should be enough for us to completely give all of ourselves – including our work and schedules – to Him.
Consult Jesus – Jesus should always have a say in every decision we make. We are to “acknowledge Him” so He can make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). This includes the use of our time and money, as well as the relationships we make and the towns we live in. Nothing is left untouched by His directive.
Live for Jesus – We can commit and consult all day, but unless we act on what He tells us, our words are meaningless. Our lives should reflect His Word and nature living on the inside of us. Our daily walk should be marked with holiness, obedience, and selfless living for Him and no one else.
Trust Jesus – We are not only called to love Him with all our heart, but also to trust Him with all our heart. When we trust Him, we are confident that when He tells us to give up a habit, adjust our schedule, or serve the Body of Christ, He will do what He promised. We know He is doing it for our good as well as His, and will make sure all our need are met. We can rest assured that it will be “more than we could ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)!
Busyness, and other misplaced priorities, can be a great weight in our lives. In fact, it can even be a sin if it excludes Jesus as Lord, or goes against something God has specifically told us to do. The point of losing the “weight” of busyness is so we can run free and easy in our relationship with God and His call on our lives. It enables us to hear His voice when He gives us guidance and encouragement. It keeps us ready to get up and go the moment He tells us to. It keeps our focus on what it most important – Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
God is looking for those who will be faithful, or trustworthy. Our lives are not just about us trusting Him, but also Him trusting us. Will we honor His commitment to us by making Him number one in our lives? Will we put aside our own plans to join His? Will we give our time, money, possessions, and skills to His use? If we do, it is proof that He has our hearts. He then knows that possessions, busy schedules, and the lure of money does not possess us. He now possesses our hearts.
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:23
The result of that faithfulness is being trusted with more – but more of what He says is important! It won’t be a burden, for His “yoke is easy and His burden is light” (Matthew 1:30). Spending time with Him and putting Him first is far easier and less stressful than slaving away in the kitchen!
(If you want to catch up and read part 2, go the the September archives at the bottom of this page!)