March 4, 2015


We all have priorities. They are the things we give importance to. We don’t all have the same priorities. That is to be expected. Some give priority to things that you and I think should have little or no priority.

We all need help in choosing that which should have priority. The word “priority” doesn’t appear in the Bible. The best we can do is to look for words that have similar meanings. We find words like good and excellent. When David was chosen to be the king of Israel, God said to him “Ask what I shall give thee” (I Kings 3:5). In I Kings 3:9 we read that his request was “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad.” We need discernment. That word does appear in the Bible. If we have discernment, we will know what should have priority in our life.

People in our day are badly in need of discernment. Children and young people aren’t being taught to think in our schools. They are just expected to listen and accept what they are told. The result is that they aren’t capable of making intelligent decisions. They are gullible. That means they just accept what they are told because they can’t discern whether what they are told is good or bad.

God wants his people to have discernment. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” People with discernment know how to think ahead and plan ahead. We need to have one eye on the here and now and one eye on the future. To have a good future, we need to have priorities. Our children also need to have priorities. One priority they need to have is to excel in school. Without a good education, they can’t expect to have much success in life.

In the Bible we read about the “carnal mind.” Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The man with a carnal mind tends to give priority to his fleshly desires. It’s not that he never thinks about the future, but the things of today have priority. The things of God have no importance to him. Proverbs 6:6-8 tells us that even the ants know what it is to have priorities. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:   Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

It takes self-discipline to have priorities. Without self-discipline we just do what gives us the most satisfaction in the here and now. It takes self-discipline to do that which may not give us satisfaction until sometime in the future. In Matthew 6:19-20 Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”

When we talk about having priorities we are saying, “This should have priority over that.” That means we need to know how to evaluate. In other words, we need to have discernment to know what is more important. Philippians 1:10 says, “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”

Our unbelieving neighbors and friends may accuse us of having our minds too much on “pie in the sky by and by.” That’s alright. I’ll be enjoying it some day while they are reaping corruption. Few have been the earthly blessings I have missed out on while doing the will of God. My prayer is that God will give me discernment to know what should have priority in my life. I invite you to pray with me the prayer of David in Psalm 86:11. “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”

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