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Priorities

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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I learned an important lesson from my wife early in our marriage. Like any couple, we found that there were always errands outside our home which demanded our attention such as buying pet food, dropping off dry cleaning or returning rented videos. I don't mind driving, so I would often volunteer to tend to these errands outside the home while my wife would take care of chores in the home such as laundry and tidying up.

On one occasion, she offered to come with me as I drove all over town. Being obsessed with efficiency as I was, her offer made little sense to me. If she came with me, the trip would surely not take any less time and all that housework would be waiting for us both. If she stayed and did what was needed at home, when I returned we could both relax and spend quality time together. "Why do you want to come?" I asked. "It's not going to be any fun, and then there will be less time for us to relax later." She replied, "I just want to spend time with you."

An important realization came to me at that moment. I was only interested in spending time with my wife when it was rigidly planned and involved doing something fun. Conversely, my wife just wanted to be with me no matter if we were shopping, driving or doing nothing at all.

In the previous devotional titled "Work Hard, Play Hard", I described the origin of my tendency to be inflexibly goal oriented. When we live our life this way, we tend to segregate our time into those moments which constitute work and those which constitute leisure. We don't like to have any overlap or ambiguity. This can have a devastating effect on our relationships, especially our relationship with Jesus.

In this devotional, I want to examine a practical way to ensure that we maintain a balance in our relationships.

What I understood from that interaction with my wife is that she does not want to be a priority; not even the top priority above all others. Setting priorities encourages the tendency to segregate and compartmentalize our lives so that we see everything on the list as a "chore" which must be completed. Once we complete the highest priority item on the list, we're free to move on to the next item until our list is exhausted and we make a new one.

My wife does not want to be a "chore" that I have to be "done with" before I can move on to the next chore. Even if she is my top priority, thinking of her in these terms fosters the idea that at some point, I need to leave her and move on to something else, and since she occupies a single compartment in my life, she can share with me in no other.

Instead, my wife wants to be a partner and companion in all that I do. She wants to be a common thread, present to some degree in all my daily activities, whether she is physically there or simply present in my thoughts. When I decided it was better to do all those errands without her, I was treating her like a priority which I would attend to after all the work was done. When she asked to come with me, she was helping me to see her as something much more valuable than just an item on a list.

If we're guilty of doing this with our spouses, then how much more are we guilty of doing this with God?

Spending time with God in prayer, reading His word and worshiping with other believers are all extremely important, but you must be aware of your intentions when you engage in these activities. If you read a chapter of the Gospel before bed, does it feel like you can now scratch "read the Bible" off your list of chores? During daily prayer time, do you feel a nagging urge to rush through it so that you can move on to other things?

Consider that if you set God as one among many priorities in your life, then obviously you are the one setting priorities, not God. As contrary as it may sound, God does not want to be a priority in our lives. He does not even want to be our first priority. He wants to be the One who sets the priorities.

God desires to be our all and everything - the context in which we accomplish everything we do. He wants to share in every aspect of our lives and desires that we call upon Him and converse with Him throughout the day, not just at some predetermined time.

Simply put, God desires our complete surrender to His will.

 

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Comments


Arsindelve,
Thank you for this. It really spoke to my heart.
(Like medicine to my soul, which I needed.)
12/15/2008 1:28:53 PM - Ignited~Faith, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/20/2008


Amen
12/16/2008 6:05:11 AM - mammak, Member of Delve into Jesus since 9/3/2008


That was an awesome devotional, it truly opened my eyes to what I was doing. For I was the same way too.
12/17/2008 11:20:10 AM - fnkyscotty, Member of Delve into Jesus since 12/17/2008


I enjoyed reading this devotional.
12/23/2008 12:18:18 PM - anonymous


The words of the devotional touches my mind. God bless you.
12/26/2008 7:21:41 AM - anonymous


Good ministry. thanks
12/26/2008 9:02:44 PM - anonymous


Yes! God wants to be the one moving the chess pieces, not just the King on the board.
12/27/2008 11:00:21 AM - anonymous


God really wanted me to see this. Thank you.
12/31/2008 10:23:52 AM - anonymous


Thank you! It's just what I needed to hear!
1/5/2009 6:56:24 AM - anonymous


What an exceptional devotional; it really uncovers the truth about how we can compartmentalize instead of integrating Christ into every aspect of our lives. Thank you for using a simple illustration to teach a deep lesson.
1/7/2009 9:01:55 AM - anonymous


Much like you I am a very legalistic person. I totally can realte to what you were saying. I agree that God needs to share in all that we do and permeate our thoughts.
1/8/2009 8:35:26 AM - anonymous


Awesome!!
1/9/2009 4:27:53 PM - anonymous


I talked to my "Spiritual Warfare Teacher" today for over an hour. She was telling me that we need to pray and warfare or stand in the gap and worship each day and then gave the Scripture references about "Do not worry about tomorrow because today has enough concerns of its own" (paraphrased from my memory). In addition to being intentional about worshipping, praying and reading Scripture daily we need to do as this devotional suggests, have God walking hand in hand with us every minute of every day. Just being with Him and letting Him direct our path throughout the day, in addition to diverting our path to meet His path.
1/9/2009 5:44:53 PM - anonymous


Please help me with my addiction. I cannot serve two masters and it is increasingly difficult for me to be a Christian marching forward in Gods army.
Sincerely
A. Di Sipio
1/12/2009 3:37:24 PM - anonymous


That really helped put things into prespective. Thanks
1/16/2009 7:15:57 AM - anonymous


I live with a house full of man, four boys and my husband. I feel that in our daily life it is harder for a man to see that quality time is outside the box. My life is all about time getting one here and another there sometimes it seems our quality time is in the van. Nevertheless, when I put God first in the morning it seems he stays in my mind and I am able to continue my worship all day long. Even in the hustle of a busy day I know he is there. This also happens in the love my husband and I share. When the day starts with a simple, I love you, we both seem to find that quality time for each other and even if it is doing some kind of busy thing we know that together,with God in the middle, those things will get done faster. This is my saying for my boys; Do not put off today what you could get done tomorrow because that tomorrow may never get here!!!!! In saying good bye I will say this; Do not wait to get close to God or a love one tomorrow because that tomorrow may never get here!!!!!!!!May God be in the middle of all that you do and say.....
1/22/2009 12:17:16 PM - anonymous


i love the part about that He shouldn't be our first prority, but that he sets the priorities.
3/18/2009 10:51:11 AM - anonymous


Great word! Every Tuesday night is our "Women night" and last night I taught on "Having a relationship with God should be our priorty" Acknowledging Him first in all things.

This was a great! If we allow HIm to set the priorties; He will always be magnified in our lives.

Thank you
4/29/2009 11:18:33 AM - anonymous


This is very insightful! I am someone who has a daily time with the lord in the mornings..Now, I see that I shouldn't try to rush through prayer.Also, I can still talk to God through out the day and let him be the one to set my priorities!
P.BETTY
5/20/2009 11:41:36 AM - anonymous


i am so happy because i am enlightened by the message that we must get together as christians and talk about God and study His Word,as a form of worship and showing our love to Him.

fernan zablan mv adams surveyor june 25 2009
6/25/2009 5:31:33 PM - anonymous


Refreshing.
7/6/2009 4:28:34 PM - anonymous


Thank you. That was a really good reminder to me. I do speak with God through the day (particularly when I need it!), but I don't think my whole life is about drawing near to him. I have neglected bible reading and prayer because I didn't want to be legalistic about it but I can see when viewed in light of having a relationship with God that it's about spending time with him and opening my heart and mind and life for him to work in and through.
9/8/2009 3:58:25 AM - Clair, Member of Delve into Jesus since 9/7/2009



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