To be successful, most of us have been taught to prioritize things to achieve the results we want. Most of us have plenty to do, and prioritizing is a good way to get the most important things done first. The problem with this approach is that many of us only focus on the physical side of life and ignore the spiritual side. If we take a backward approach and put the things of the world first and the things of God second, we see no results.
We can’t rely on what we see around us to determine what’s important and what’s not. The only way to get our priorities in order is to study God’s Word to find what matters to Him, and what He considers trivial, inconsequential fluff. Jesus prioritized what was most important in life by putting love at the top of the list. “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31). If our priorities are arranged differently than this, that should be a signal to examine our hearts and minds.
Our lives on earth are finite and limited; changing our perspective and acknowledging that what comes afterward is infinite and permanent helps us re-prioritize. Seeing the big picture, not just what’s in front of us now, gives us wisdom. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). When we’re children, we don’t think like this, but as we grow older, this point becomes more and more clear to us.
Over the years we may have learned to put wealth and material things first; as a result, that’s what we chase after in life as adults. God is aware we need these things, and there’s nothing wrong with having them. However, our parents were wiser than we realized when they advised us to put first things first. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
We may also have fallen into the trap of thinking that all the busy, time-consuming work we do is what’s important. Jesus noticed this type of situation when He came to Mary and Martha’s house; Martha was flitting back and forth and didn’t have time to stop, but Mary prioritized correctly and sat at Jesus’ feet, listening intently (Luke 10:38-42). Getting our priorities mixed up creates undue stress and causes us to miss the really important things.
What seems right to the world isn’t necessarily right in God’s eyes, and what we may think has great value He sees as utterly worthless. The Gospel of Grace is something unbelievers don’t understand, yet this message is the most important thing we could ever hear. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4, NIV). Getting our priorities in the right order clears the path on our Christian walk.