A lot of times we get our balance skewed by doing good things, while neglecting the most important. Luke 11:42

There is a basic, inflexible, rule: If I sacrifice higher priorities in order to attend to lower ones, then everyone suffers, even the ones I think that I am, “helping”. On the other hand, if I sacrifice time and attention towards lower priorities in order to attend to higher ones, everyone will be better off, even the ones that I “sacrifice”.

What are the forces that would urge me to neglect the higher responsibilities? Well, the devil loves to distract us and whispers in our ear, “You can do that later, do this other task first.” Or we go to work and get appreciation, but if we spend time at home we get “Honey could you do this, I’ve asked you a thousand times?” Children often do not appreciate our sacrifices until they are grown and sometimes, not even then. Or we can go golfing or bowling and hang out with pals who do not expect anything of us and affirm our scores. We are fighting the powerful force or Resistance. Romans 6 Why do I do what I know that I should not, and really do not want to do, and know that in the long run I will be less happy/ and why do I not do what I know that I should, and really do want to, and know that in the long run I would be happier? Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Jesus, but I have to admit my need, ask for his help and cooperate by adjusting my schedule and getting counsel and accountability.

So what are these priorities?

First, my love for and walk with God. In all my ways and doings, my chief goal is to know him more, to see as he sees, to feel as he feels, to think his thoughts after him, to become his hands,feet and mouth, tools for him minister to others. This requires no strenuous effort on my part. I just have to desire him and seek him diligently with all my heart, and he will give me my desire. Psalm 37:4 So what could get in the way of such an obviously prime goal? Everything else! I need to join God as he jealously guards our relationship from anything that would come between. For example, unless my love for him makes my love for spouse or children or friends or even my own life, seem like hatred by comparison, then I am not in the right place. Luke 14:26

Second, my walk with and love for my spouse. My love for her must be greater than for Mother or Father or anyone except the Lord. You have heard the example that as I and my wife draw closer to God we are drawing closer to each other. Matthew 19:5,6 Men are wired to strive to conquer a challenge, and then, once concurred, they ignore it and move on to a new challenge. This is not God’s plan for marriage. He says to love on the wife of your youth so that you can raise godly children. In Malachi 2 13-16 God says,”You weep and pray and I do not listen and you complain, why? Why? Because you put away your wives, but I made you one flesh so you could raise godly children. For I, your Lord and Master HATE putting away! In I Corinthians 7:33-34 “If you are not married then “care” about priority one but if you are married, God wants you to care about pleasing your spouse. Again, this should take no strenuous effort because, you are tight with God and the two of you are reaching out to your spouse.

Third, my walk with my children. I Timothy 5: If a man does not (take thought for, care for, plan ahead for) his own family he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. I am to enjoy and nourish my children and teach and admonish them and be careful not to make them angry. Ephesians 6:4 I need to invest time into teaching and training them. I have seen many pastors ignore their children in order to “serve God’s people”. But their children become discouraged and the pastor provides a damaging model for his families. Again, ministering to my children, should not stress me, because now I reach out to my children with both God’s help and my spouse’s.

Fourth, my walk with the people at church. We are to lay down our lives for them, as Jesus did for us; be of one mind; have compassion on; be tenderhearted and feel their feelings and struggles; exhort; rebuke; restore; lift up; sharpen etc etc. (Look up the words, one another, in a concordance). As my focus broadens, I get more help so that I am not worn out. I reach out to my brethren with the help of God, spouse, and my children. Families ministering to families.

Fifth, my walk with and ministry to the world. I firmly believe that this should be done in tandem with my brethren at church and as a family. If everyone at church joined their different gifts and ideas to accomplish common goals set by that church, they would accomplish far more than any individual could. Each individuals contribution would be magnified and strengthened.

God is not calling me to stress myself to generate love for him and my spouse and my children and my church and the world on my own. Boy, that would be exhausting. And, if I have to back off on lower priorities in order to strengthen the higher one, and then, reach out again, I will have more peace and power to truly be a help.

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