Should I have priorities or simply do what I feel like doing at the time?
Should I do whatever my circumstances naturally bring, or are there certain things that I should do regardless of the urgent pleas of my present situation?
Should I be working 45 hours a week if, in doing so, it keeps me from going to a good Bible study group?
Should I work and go to school at the same time if it means that not only my grades suffer but so does my learning ability and health?
Should I take 18 credit hours of classes at school if it means I have little or no time left to grow spiritually because of all the homework I have to do?
Should I spend the whole weekend with my family or girlfriend/boyfriend if it means missing all or most of the major Christian activities with the campus Christian group?
Should I get involved in a music group if it means I won’t be able to be trained or get actively involved in a good Christian group?
Should I spend two or more hours a day working out to stay physically fit if it means I have no time left to read my Bible and pray daily?
Should I be on the school athletic team since it consumes at least 25 hours a week of my time and hinders me from getting Christian training or from training others spiritually?
Should I go out doing fun/recreational activities with my non-Christian or carnal Christian friends if it means missing a good, spiritual Bible study group?
Should I get involved in school club events/activities if it means that I have little or no time left to actively evangelize and follow-up new Christians?
Should I get wrapped up in a lot of church functions/activities if it means that I won’t have time to be built up spiritually or get good Christian training from a Christian group that specializes in developing spiritual leaders?
Study the following Bible passages to discover the answer to these questions.
Mk. 12:28-30; Matt. 22:36-38 What is the great and foremost commandment?
The great and foremost command in the Bible is to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.” But do you know what this means or involves?
In order to love God correctly, we need to know what this specifically means. First, what does the word “love” mean here? “Love” means to be committed to seeking and doing what’s best, right, and true according to biblical values and standards to the one you love.
So to love God with all our heart means to love Him with full sincerity of will or choice (it’s to sincerely decide to give Him all we are).
- Do you choose daily, moment by moment and decision by decision, to give God your all?
- Do you predetermine to make God/Christ number one in your life?
- Do you daily ask God in prayer to give you a supreme love for Him and a corresponding complete obedience to Him?
- Do you check your motives for doing so?
- Are all of your time, talents, treasure, and thoughts increasingly His each day?
- Do you take time to think through these questions regularly?
To love God with all your soul means to have an intensity or fervency of feeling toward the Lord.
- Are you intense in your commitment toward God?
- Are you excited about the Lord, as seen by your desiring (and actually getting) to know Him through the time you commit to Bible reading, meditation, and study, and by the time you spend communicating with Him in prayer?
- Do you enjoy talking to Him in prayer and listening to Him as you read His Word?
- Do you sing about and/or to Him?
- What tunes capture your thoughts: sacred or secular?
- How much of your prayers are devoted to praising Him?
- Do you verbally tell Him that you love Him? If so, how often?
- Do your actions support your words?
- Do you meditate on the Psalms much, and make them a part of your thinking?
To love the Lord with all our mind is to love Him thoughtfully or with understanding of intellect.
- Do you think through what the Bible says pleases God?
- Or, do you think through what the Bible states is how we are to love Him?
- Do you then seek to personally and conscientiously apply this information?
- Have you analyzed why you should be committed to seeking God’s best and making Him the top priority of your life?
- Do you meditate on the things that God has done for you or promises to do for you? If so, how often?
- Do you meditate on who God is (His attributes, such as His goodness, mercy, and grace)?
- Do you regularly think about why the Lord deserves your all?
- How often do you think about the things that God wants you to do specifically? Like:
- Areas of your life that need to be changed or strengthened?
- Bad habits to be broken?
- People to be witnessed to?
- Christians to be followed-up spiritually?
- Christians to be counseled?
- Christians to be trained in spiritual leadership skills?
- Physical needs that I could help out in?
To love the Lord with all your strength is to love Him (seek His best) with all your energy or power of being.
- Do you diligently and enthusiastically serve Him day in and day out?
- Really serve Him with all you’ve got?
- Or, does He just get your left-over, tired hours of the day?
- Do you serve Him faithfully and wholeheartedly day by day, or just when it’s convenient?
- Is your love with zest and zeal or with slothfulness and indifference?
- Do you witness with enthusiasm or with drudgery?
- Do you follow-up spiritually new believers with zeal or mechanically (even when they’re not too responsive)?
- Do you build up believers spiritually with all your energy or tiredly?
- Do you work hard at building friendships and relationships with people in order to better minister to them, or do you let things slide?
- Do you work fervently at building up your own spiritual maturity or just when you feel like it?
- Are all the things that you believe that God wants you to be doing, done heartily (i.e., studying, cooking, cleaning, planning, telephoning new Christians or Bible study members, helping, etc.)?
Jn. 14:15, 21, 23; 1 Jn. 5:3 How does a person love God/Jesus?
Since there are lots of commandments in God’s Word, the Bible, and since a person can generally do only one commandment at a time, how does a person know which command to do (be involved in) at any given moment (since in the doing of one command, he probably can’t give his time, attention, and energy to the doing of other commands at that point)?
For example, if you are being hospitable to a group of traveling missionaries in your home by feeding and sheltering them, then you can’t be out comforting a grieving Christian somewhere else at the same time (who has just lost a Christian loved one in death). Yet, both of these activities/ministries are commands for us to keep (1 Pet. 4:9; 1 Thes. 4:18). Or, if you are teaching and admonishing a group of Christians, you can’t be praying for a list of things/people at the same time that you are teaching. Yet, both of these activities are commands for us to keep (Col. 3:16; 4:2). So how does a Christian know which command to be doing at any given time, or how long a time should he spend doing any one of these commands? Well, knowing our God-given purpose in life certainly helps. And what is the Christian’s God-given purpose in life?
First, what was Jesus’ purpose here on earth, according to Lk. 19:9-10; Mk. 1:38; 1 Tim. 1:15?
Second, what was Paul’s purpose in life according to Gal. 1:15-17; 1 Cor. 9:16-17; and Acts 9:8, 13, 15?
Third, what was Barnabas and Paul’s purpose in life according to Acts 13:46-47?
Fourth, what was Timothy’s purpose in life according to 2 Tim. 3:10?
[Since Timothy was following Paul’s purpose, and Paul’s purpose in life was to evangelize the world, then we see that Timothy’s was also.].
Does the command to Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:5 reinforce the fact that Timothy’s purpose in life was to do the work of an evangelist even though Timothy was the pastor in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3)?
Fifth, was evangelism of the world merely the life purpose of a select few Christian leaders or of all Christians?
Let’s see. What does Paul command all the Christians in the city of Philippi to do according to the last phrase of Phil. 2:2?
And what was this “one purpose” that all the Christians were to be intent on (give eager attention or concentration to) according to the context of Phil. 1:27?
[So, we see that the “one purpose” of all the Christians at Philippi was to live a godly life while “striving together for the faith of the gospel” (that is, evangelizing, as Dr. William Hendriksen states on page 87 of New Testament Commentary – Philippians). Evangelism was to be given eager attention to or concentrated upon as the Christian’s purpose in life (Phil. 2:2 with Phil. 1:27), and this, in fact, is the whole context of Phil. 1:3 – 2:2.].
Sixth, was evangelism of the world only for the Christians at Philippi? Or, is it for all Christians everywhere and for all ages/ times?
What does Jesus command His disciples to do according to Matt. 28:19-20, as they are going?
[To make converts/believers/disciples means that he/she needs to evangelize first.].
And what were Jesus’ disciples to teach their disciples/converts according to Matt. 28:20?
And what had Jesus just finished commanding them to do in Matt. 28:19?
[So, we see that one of Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples before He ascended back to heaven was for them to make disciples/converts of all nations (which would first necessitate evangelizing the nations), and then to teach their converts to go and do likewise.].
Seventh, Christians are both seen imitating as well as commanded to imitate both Paul and the Lord Jesus’ purpose in life and conduct, 1 Thes. 1:6, 8; 2 Tim. 3:10; 4:5; 1 Cor. 11:1; 4:1, 16; Matt. 28:19-20; (Phil. 4:9 with Phil. 4:3 and Phil. 1:7, 12, 16).
Do you see this happening in both the lives of the apostles and of the first-century Christians? Read the following passages and then summarize your conclusion.
Acts 2:5-11, 40-41
Acts 3:11, 19
Acts 4:1, 4
Acts 8:1, 4-5
Acts 10:34, 42-43
Acts 11:1, 18-21
Acts 13:5-7, 12-16, 32, 38, 42-44, 49
Acts 14:1, 6-7, 20-28
Acts 16:1-13, 17, 29-31
Acts 17:1-4, 10-15, 21-22, 34
Acts 18:1-5, 11, 18, 23
Acts 20:1-6, 20-21, 31
1 Cor. 9:22-23; 10:32-11:1
Gal. 2:1, 9
2 Cor. 1:19
1 Thes. 1:8; 5:11
2 Tim. 2:2
So, we see that every Christian’s purpose in life is to evangelize the lost/non-Christians and to build up believers spiritually, as the Christian himself grows into Christ-likeness both in character (Eph. 4:13; Phil. 1:27) and in mission (1 Pet. 2:9; Phil. 1:27).
1 Pet. 1:1-2; 2:9 Why did God choose certain people to become believers/Christians/a royal priesthood?
[God’s excellencies are both God’s character and actual deeds by which He reveals it (i.e., by what God has done in bringing outsiders/sinners into the enjoyment of God’s privileges/salvation) – A. Stibbs, First Epistle General of Peter, p. 104. These Christian’s conversion/obtaining salvation is a gracious and merciful dealing of God’s, and in proclaiming this (“called from darkness into light”), they would share the gospel/evangelize. So, God chose Christians/His chosen race for the purpose of proclaiming His excellencies, which are demonstrated in the gospel message (or a person’s conversion testimony).].
Are you proclaiming God’s excellencies (attributes and works) as the purpose of your life by evangelizing?
Are you evangelizing regularly as a way of life?
Eph. 4:11-12 Why did God give evangelists to His Church (all Christians)?
[So, we see that God gave evangelists to equip/train all Christians so that they would serve God in evangelizing the world and so build up the body of Christ quantitatively, as pastor-teachers would build up the body of Christ qualitatively.].
Are you making yourself available to be equipped/trained so that you will know how to effectively share your faith/the gospel with others (“do the work of service” – Acts 14:26, 7, 15, 21-22; 2 Tim. 4:5), and why?
Or, are you too busy doing other things?
Or, do you make excuses, like, “I’m too busy right now with other responsibilities and involvements”?
Are you putting schooling and homework ahead of evangelizing and building up believers spiritually?
Or, does your job/career rob you of your time to witness and build up believers?
How about family ties and activities, do they keep you from sharing your faith and/or being equipped to train other Christians as the top priority of your life?
Or, is your involvement in sports preventing you from having any time left to witness/evangelize or be trained yourself so that you can train other Christians to live Christ-like lives?
Col. 3:1-2 What should we keep seeking (striving earnestly for) and set/fix (center or concentrate) our minds on?
Are you striving earnestly for and centering/concentrating your thoughts/life on heavenly values and eternal things?
Or, are you caught up in: making money, hunting for a mate, getting straight “A’s” in school, weight-lifting, sports, martial arts, TV, or computers?
Are you so wrapped up in cars, music, music groups or other hobbies that you have little or no time for glorifying God in winning people to Christ and then building them up spiritually?
Does God get your leftover minutes and tired moments because you are too busy chasing your own self-centered pursuits?
Or, does God get your prime time and full attention and energy?
2 Tim. 2:4 What doesn’t a soldier do?
Are you entangled in school work, family activities, a girlfriend/boyfriend relation, making money, career/job, sports, martial arts, music, cars, computers, hobbies, TV, so that God, evangelism, and building up believers are squeezed out of your life or nearly so?
Do you spend more time, energy, and attention in any of the above entanglements than you do reading your Bible, praying, witnessing, being trained, helping new Christians grow spiritually, and/or building up and training Christians?
If you say that God is your first/top priority in life, do you show it by loving Him through your obedience to evangelize the spiritually lost and build up spiritually other believers?
[This is your God-given purpose in life and thus should have top priority over everything and everybody else.].
So, how do you know which of God’s commands you should be doing and how much time you should devote to each of them? Make evangelizing the lost and building up Christians spiritually by teaching God’s Word (Acts 20:32) and correcting them as your top goal/priority in life, and as you do, then all the other commands will find their rightful place.
[And by all means, don’t waste your life building huge bank accounts, huge muscles, huge homes, or huge wardrobes. Don’t throw your life away chasing after self-centered social relationships or being engrossed in a sports-mania lifestyle, watching foolish TV programs, or playing time-wasting video games. Rather, live for what will count for eternity (1 Cor. 3:13-15), doing God’s will.].
Lk. 9:57-62 What did Jesus say to the first person who volunteered to be a follower/disciple of Christ?
[Jesus is telling this volunteer that if he is serious about being a disciple of His, then he will have to be willing to give up the security of material comforts, like a home (which even animals have).].
Is being a follower/disciple of Jesus more of a priority to you than material comforts (e.g., staying at home)?
Are you willing to move out of your home in order to be trained by a spiritual Christian leader who can teach and equip you to train still others?
What did Jesus tell the second potential follower/disciple, who made a request to bury his father?
[Jesus is telling this person that he should let the (spiritually) dead (non-believer) bury the (physically) dead (because it doesn’t necessitate a believer to do the job of burying people; anyone can do that job). Instead, this potential follower/disciple should do what only believers should do best and that is to evangelize the world.].
Is your job or schooling a higher priority to you than following Jesus by evangelizing the world?
Are you willing to quit your job and/or postpone or drop your schooling in order to be trained by a spiritual leader so you can evangelize the world and build up believers spiritually?
Why (e.g., Matt. 4:18-22; 9:9)?
What did Jesus tell the third person who volunteered to follow Him?
[Jesus is telling this volunteer that once he decides to follow Him, he should not let anything/anyone hinder him from following through on that decision, including his family ties.].
Are you willing to leave your family in order to follow/be trained by a spiritual leader, who can train you to be an effective Christian for the Lord?
And if you do move out and leave your family in order to be trained, do you plan to stick with that commitment?
Matt. 10:37; Lk. 14:26 Who should have a higher priority in your life: your family or following Jesus?
Which is true of you?
If it’s following Jesus, how are you specifically demonstrating this?
Are you willing to obey Christ in evangelizing the lost (Matt. 28:19, 20) by first being trained/equipped to do so (Eph. 4:11-12)?
Lk. 14:33 What should have a higher priority: your possessions or following Jesus?
Which is a higher priority in your life?
If following Jesus is, how specifically are you showing it?
Are you willing to obey the Lord in evangelizing the lost and building up spiritually and training believers by first being equipped to do so, by giving up everything (e.g., car, home, stereo, apartment, furniture, computer, etc.) that hinders you from being trained by a spiritual trainer, and why?
Mk. 10:28-30; Lk. 18:28-30 Who or what should have a higher priority: your home, family, career, or following Jesus?
How will God reward those who put following Christ and building His kingdom by sharing the gospel and building up believers spiritually over their home, family, and career/job?
Why do so many Christians think that following Jesus means a life of poverty and misery, when Christ doesn’t say that?
[Though being persecuted will be a part of following Christ, the benefits and rewards far out-weigh the disadvantages (Rom. 8:18; Phil. 1:29).].
Are you willing to be persecuted by family (Matt. 10:21, 34-36), relatives and friends (Lk. 21:16), and strangers (Lk. 21:17) in order to follow Christ and fulfill your life’s purpose as a Christian?
As a result of doing this study, what changes do you plan to make in your life and priorities?
How soon? Why?
When do you plan to seek out a godly leader to train/equip you, so that you can more effectively fulfill your God-given purpose in life?
[Though Jesus isn’t physically here to follow directly (like His original 12 did), we have the instruction in Eph. 4:11-12 to show us that we should be trained by other Christians, and, in turn, build up and train other believers.].
[So don’t procrastinate or make excuses for not being trained just because Jesus isn’t your personal trainer. God commands us to imitate godly, human leaders (1 Cor. 11:1; 4:16; Phil. 3:17; 4:9). And God commends such imitation (2 Tim. 3:10; 1 Thes. 1:6).].
How about you?
Will your priorities be changing?
Priorities – Who or what comes first?
The commands of God do not conflict or contradict.
Christ’s purpose here on earth was to seek and to save the lost – Lk. 19:9-10.
Paul and Barnabas’ purpose was to bring salvation to the ends of the earth – Acts 13:46-47; Gal. 1:15-16; 1 Cor. 9:16-17.
As Christians, we also are to be intent on the one purpose (Phil. 2:2) of being holy (“conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel” – Phil. 1:27), evangelizing (“striving together for the faith of the gospel” – Phil. 1:27), and building up believers spiritually (“… for your progress … in the faith” – Phil. 1:24-25).
Since we, as Christians, were created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph. 2:10), and because there are many commands that we could spend all of our time and energy fulfilling, it becomes essential to know what our “one purpose” in life is, so as to devote ourselves to the doing of it. And as we live holy, build believers, and evangelize, all the other commands of God will find their right place and priority. The keeping of all the commands of Scripture should aid in fulfilling our “one purpose” of holiness, building believers, and evangelism. And to that extent is the extent in which we should be involved in the doing of all the other commands of Scripture. If anything or anyone hinders you from this “one purpose”, it, he, she, or they should be minimized or eliminated from being a distraction to the accomplishing of your “one purpose” of holy living, building believers, and evangelism – Lk. 9:57-62; 14:26, 33; 18:28-30; Mk. 10:28-30; 1:19-20.