CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Priorities in the Christian Life
By Dr. Ron Tardif (D.Div. C.C.)
Priorities in the Christian Life: The Series
Priority #1: God
Priority #2: Spouse
Priority #3: Children
Priority #4: Occupation
Priority #5: Ministry
Ministry is too often confused with priority #1; God. Many a pastor, church leader, or missionary have put ministry ahead of their spouse and children, "for the sake of God." Most folk I have seen who place ministry ahead of their spouse and/or children are sincere and believe that this is what they must do. However, this is NOT God's plan. The passage in Ephesians chapters 5 and 6 clearly separate priorities, and list ministry as coming after God, spouse, children, and jobs/occupation/vocation.
Let me ask you a question. Why are you still alive? Is it to worship God? Is it to assist your spouse? Is it to raise and foster children, to train them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6)? Is it to work, work, work? The answer is that it is to have a ministry for the Lord. Does satan (small "s" intended) want you to succeed? He doesn't like you, right? He can't take your salvation (see Romans 8). He can't hurt your spouse or children or even you without God's permission (see Job). But he certainly hates it when you do ministry. Look at what is embedded in the middle of this passage of priorities, right in between priorities 4 and 5. It is found in Ephesians 6:12:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.You see, life is expected to be difficult — a struggle. One reason is satan is trying to make it difficult for you. If and when — and only if and when — you have the four previous priorities consistently in order, then you can try and have a ministry. But before this priority is clearly spelled out, we see the WARNING of satan and his evil spirits who will try to subvert you. Verses 10-11 tell us to be strong and prepare for battle:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11It is those who don't know there is an enemy out there who will be caught off guard when he attacks. KNOW YOUR ENEMY! It is NOT your spouse. It is NOT your children. It is NOT your boss. It is NOT other church members. It is satan. So what can you do about it? Quit trying? NO! Read on...
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13Stand your ground against what? Doubts of God's love, grace, mercy, power, forgiveness, persecution (see Job), confusion over doctrine (see Romans 16; 2 Timothy 2; Titus 3); all are threats of opposition to a faithful life and ministry. Division amongst the brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19), trust in self for food, money, job, family, health, hypocrisy, desires for worldliness, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. will all knock you down, into depression.
He does want you to reach out and minister to your neighbor. "Who is my neighbor" you may ask? A fellow student, co-worker, relative, friend, cashier, mailman, grocery bagger, toll booth worker, etc. Who will reach them? Who has God placed alongside them in this world? Is it me, or is it you? It is you my friend. And this is why you are still alive. We all need to get our priorities in proper order, and then SERVE the Lord, through MINISTRY. It has been said, "Witnessing is merely one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread."
This should be your goal in life: May your family become knit with two adult spouses who love the Lord, love their children, and seek to fulfill the great commandment from Jesus Himself:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-201. Daily soul search to see if your priorities are in order. Make adjustments where/when necessary.
2. Never forget or get confused on who your enemy is. It will potentially kill you or your ministry if you get it wrong. If you don't know your enemy, he WILL beat you, and you WILL eventually suffer huge losses. And, you will probably never know what hit you. That's because he is good at what he does… pure evil.
3. Ministry is why you are still alive. However, the previous 4 priorities are clearly more important. WORK to keep it that way… 5th. If struggling to keep/make ministry 5th, take a sabbatical from "ministry". The other 4 are MORE important.
4. Help those in leadership around you to keep "ministry" from stealing or jeopardizing their more important priorities.
5. Don't be afraid to tell fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord that your spouse or children, trump ministry. It should/can be a wonderful teaching opportunity to share with them why you are working diligently to place ministry 5th … on the bottom of the list. However, the goal should be that it actually IS on the list of priorities in your life.
6. WARNING: If you have some other item that is consistently ahead of the 5 priorities, it is a threat to your walk with God, or a threat to your marriage, or a threat to your relationship with your children. Deal with it accordingly.
7. Ask for prayer from mature brothers and sisters when under attack. Remember, satan wants you to FAIL. But, He Who is in you is GREATER than he who is in the world
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
See also: What does it take to be a born again Christian?
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Family-Life | God-Father | Personal-Relationships
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Published on 3-6-17