In a recent article on Lydia of Thyatira, I made the observation that she was an unusual woman. But this was not, as you might think, because she was a successful business woman. This was because, she showed, she had her priorities right!
To have the right priorities, we must have the right perspective.
There are times when we become engrossed in our own problems and we forget the power and the majesty of God. Our focus becomes the magnitude of our own issues and troubles. When we zoom in on our selves, we lose our perspective of God. We need continually to be lifting our eyes UP off ourselves and onto the Sovereignty of God.
In Genesis 15, we read that one night, Abram had a vision. God spoke to him, and said: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Abram’s thoughts, however, were on his childlessness, his lack of an heir. He was consumed with his own problems, the thought, that all he had and was working for would go to a distant relative! His perspective was off, and he was unable to see the promise in God’s word.
God’s grace to Abram shines through here. Now, God speaks clearly to him, and promises him, that he will have a son and heir, a direct descendant. God then takes Abram outside of his tent and tells him to “Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.”
FACT There are more than 8,000 stars clearly visible to the naked eye in the darkness of a Near Eastern night sky. This promise was fulfilled – by the time the Israelites left Egypt they were ‘as numerous as the stars in the sky.’ Ultimately all who belong to Christ are Abraham’s offspring.
To get the right perspective, we need to look up. For Abram he had to get up and leave his tent. He had to disrupt and disturb his comfort. He had to make a physical effort to change his position, and to receive a fresh perspective. That shift in position was a life-changing and a life-transforming moment for Abram. Then he was convinced. He believed the Lord, who ‘credited it to him as righteousness.’ That change of perspective, changed his outlook and the direction of his whole life.
A change of perspective brings transformation!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”Romans 12:2
When we are willing to shift, to make the effort and to look up to God, transformation follows! A change in our perspective in relation to the vastness of our God, and His incomparably great power, will change our priorities.
The greatest commandment in the Bible is simply: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Whether a fourfold commandment in Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27 or threefold in Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 27:37, and Mark 12:33, the meaning is the same – total devotion to God.
All Our Mind and Strength
Our mindset, our strength of will, is controllable. And what we choose to take in and absorb, will affect the way we feel. We need to choose wisely what we listen to, what we read, and what we watch.
Paul in Philippians 4 teaches how to counteract anxiety, and he makes three clear points:
- With thanksgiving, to bring your prayer requests to God. And leave them there, put them down and don’t pick them up again.
- Then, when you have done that, the peace of God, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Finally, to think about those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. To keep the peace of mind that God has given you and to guard your heart – focus and choose to think on what is good.
The notes in italics are mine…
Our thought life is important! What we think, becomes what we feel, then what we feel, controls how we respond, and what we do.
All our Heart and Soul
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”Proverbs 4:23
“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”Matthew 12:34
Just as our thinking impacts our feelings, our feelings affect our decision making. The heart is the seat of our emotions, and our heart will determine the way that we will go. Our heart always follows the strongest emotion.
Priorities flow from our perspective, and they are both matters of the heart.Tweet
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”Matthew 6:21-22
Setting our Priorities
To set our priorities, we need to keep our eyes fixed on God!
I don’t believe there is a ‘formula’ for having the right priorities. We are all different in the ways that we relate to God, and we are all in different situations and seasons of our lives. We all, however, need to reverse our thinking and take a shift in our perspective.
It is NOT, how do we fit God into our busy lives, but INSTEAD, how does our busy life flow out of our relationship with God.
If we do the first, we will always be running and playing catch up.
If we do the second, if we get that perspective, then our faith will strengthen and our relationship with God will grow and deepen. We will have our priorities right, and everything else will flow from there. If we come in humility, with the desire to love God above all else, He is the One who by His grace will do the work in our heart and life.
Some of the link ups I am joining this week can be found here.