Earlier we discussed how each of us have influence. We either guide people to or away from God. When we are compelled to focus on God his love becomes our greatest influencer. Remember:
YOUR PURSUITS REVEAL WHAT YOU LOVE
WHAT YOU LOVE REVEALS WHO YOU ARE
WHO YOU ARE IS YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCER
Now we want to talk about how your priorities inform what you love, who you are, and how you influence.
YOUR PRIORITIES INFORM WHAT YOU LOVE, WHO YOU ARE, AND HOW YOU INFLUENCE
Take a minute to reflect on the people that have most influenced you. No matter who that person is and how they have influenced you, one thing is certain. Their greatest influence informed their priorities.
My biggest influencer was my Dad. I was his shadow. If he was gardening, I was gardening. If he was watching a Western, I was too. So the natural progression was if He loved the Lord, I was going to love the Lord. My Dad exemplified a life of sacrifice, service, and obedience to God. His influence on me was great, but his lasting impact came from seeing his priority was to Love God in all that he did.
Our Priorities should help us focus on what is right and necessary to accomplish what God wants to do in and through us. This means that we should be doing things that matter to God.
How do your priorities promote spiritual growth for you and your loved ones?
In Luke we find a lawyer inquiring of Jesus. His objective was to identify the most important thing, the priority, that would position him best to enter God’s Kingdom. This man, as did most first century Jews, based salvation on human actions and merits. He was not ready for Jesus’ response. Jesus startles this man’s thinking by highlighting “love,” unexpected, outrageous love.
“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.””
Shortly after the conversation with the lawyer Jesus finds himself at the home of some friends. Again, the host was surprised by Jesus’ response to a family dispute over priorities.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.””
In both stories we see people’s priorities shattered. They expected validation for their seemingly righteous priorities, but received a new edict.
“but one thing is necessary”…
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Do your seemingly righteous priorities need be be shattered? Do you need to take a step back and ask yourself if loving God and loving others is your priority? Is your life motivated by the compelling love of Jesus?
The focus of the first thought in this scripture is not placed on the words heart, soul, strength, and mind. It is in the repeated word “all”. We are to love God with “all” our self. This combined with the addition of “love your neighbor as yourself” reinforces the thought that when we love God (our priority) we will express that love by loving others. Are you truly loving others…loving God?
My Dad influenced me through his singular focus on God. His priorities were birthed from that relationship. Now I see my Dad’s influence at work in my. I have a few shadows. My hope is that my boys look back years from now and recognize that their Father’s greatest influence on their life came from his Love for God demonstrated through his love for others.
This will not happen unless I make God the priority of my life. We do not have the luxury to hold on to this world. We must follow Jesus example and commands and give everything up for the sake of knowing God and making him known.
Take time to reflect, repent, and commit to making God your priority.
“As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.” Proverbs 27:19
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
“Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
When God is your priority “all” your life is in service to God. Your loving relationship with God is expressed by influencing others through love. So ask yourself this question.
How will your priorities promote spiritual growth for you and your loved ones?