3 HARD QUESTIONS TO DEVELOP GOD-CENTERED PRIORITIES
Priorities are powerful. Not only do they shape our own perceptions of the world, but they also shape how others perceive us. Despite being powerful and obvious to others, they can be stealthy and shift without our awareness. Every so often, we all need a priority reboot. Here are three questions that can help you grow in awareness of your priorities and help you change them:
1 // Is this the right stuff?
Everyone has priorities, but we have to evaluate if ours are God-centered or self-centered. This isn’t an easy task and it takes a good dose of humility. We’d all like to think we’re focused on God and his purposes, but how can we be sure?
This is one of the reasons why reading your Bible is so important. When you open up your Bible—reading its narratives and letters and wisdom—you’re not just reading a book. You’re getting to know who God is and what’s important to him. We’re all at risk of trying to place our own priorities on God—just consider the focus of many of our prayers. So, what are God’s top priorities that we need to align with? Here’s a few:
For the world to know him (John 3:16-17; 17:3).
For you to trust his provision (Matthew 6:25-33).
For you to become more like him (Romans 8:29).
For you to rejoice and be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a start for us to consider how highly we prize and pursue these same things.
2 // Who gets the final say?
When we evaluate our priorities, we have to as ourselves, “Who gets the final say?” Developing right priorities doesn’t just take discernment and determination—it requires surrender. When we decide that we’re going to refocus our lives on what God wants, we also have to admit that these don’t come naturally. Our natural inclinations don’t lead us to God-centered priorities. Left on our own we’ll become self-focused, greedy, and worried. It will take work, but first we surrender to the reality of God’s truth and trust the fact that even if what he asks is hard, it will be what’s best for us and everyone around us.
3 // Now what?
Once we discover God’s priorities and surrender ourselves to them, how can we make sure that these things retain their top spot? Rest assured, as soon as you decide to develop God-centered priorities, other things—work, money, honor, happiness—will begin to clamor for that top spot. How do we keep our focus on the primary things and suppress the temptation to let secondary things usurp them?
This is why building up community is so important. It’s easier to stay the course when you’re surrounded and encouraged by others who are trying to walk the same path. Maybe you need to instate some accountability with a friend. Meet weekly to discuss how you’re fighting for God-centered priorities instead of people-pleasing, making more money, or giving into apathy. Ask older and wiser friends for advice on how they have kept God-centered priorities throughout different seasons of their lives. Learn from their perspectives and be encouraged by their example. Find a mentor—someone who evidences focus on God’s priorities—w ho will encourage you, challenge you, and walk with as God is transforming your priorities.
Setting and maintaining God-centered priorities is lifelong work. Don’t get discouraged by the need to undergo frequent priority check-ups and reboots. God will be faithful in transforming us one step at a time as we commit to his priorities and cooperate with the work he is doing in and around us. Not only will God lead you through messy situations, but God will use you to show the world how great and faithful he is.