One of my all time favorite “preachers” from a different century reminded me recently about the utter importance and value of not only “believing in Jesus,” but learning to live like Jesus. Robert Murray M’Cheyne said this years ago:
Remember you are God’s sword – His instrument – I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name… It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus.
The apostle Paul told his young disciple Timothy, “Keep a close watch on yourself” (1 Timothy 4:17). I often find myself at the end of the day asking, Did I use my time wisely? I am often frustrated that I could have been more intentional, more focused, less distracted on minor tasks and responsibilities, and invested my energy into the areas of life that truly matter.
I consistently hear God reminding me… Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalms 90:12). It’s when God reminds me of this (and literally it’s a daily reminder at this point!) that I can hear Him saying, “Stay focused on your priorities! Don’t get distracted!” So here is what I am learning and how I think it can help all of us:
Your Priorities Follow Your Purpose
Whatever “grand purpose” we have selected for our lives and for our families (either by intentional decision-making or by making no decision at all), we must understand that it will be the controlling mechanism (or drummer) for the priorities and rhythm by which our lives are lived.
Therefore over time – whether we like it or not – our priorities become very established. If our purpose is simply “survival” or “just getting through the day,” then we will often be at the mercy of the tyranny of the urgent.
BUT… if our purpose is both clear and simple, our priorities become obvious and will give our lives the “order” and “rhythm” that we need to be faithful to the life Christ has called us to live!
Build a New Rhythm
Life will be continually frustrating and agonizing if we try to follow Christ while at the same time trying to serve other masters (perfection, impressing others, climbing an endless ladder, etc.)
Rhythm – good rhythm that is God-honoring, relationship-building rhythm – does not just happen. It requires a daily awareness to the moments God gives us. Notice I did not say it requires us to have a perfectly planned schedule. Our perfect little schedules are going to be interrupted: kids will get sick, the car will break down, the roof will leak.
So if we want to create a rhythm in our lives that builds deep relationship with our spouses, with our children and with God, then we must revisit our purpose for living daily. We must fight the distractions that are everywhere.
We must create the rhythm.
Because the alternative is chaos.
The alternative is that when we rest our heads on the pillow each night, we’re reminded that we gave ourselves to the 1,001 things that pulled us in a million different directions all the while missing out on the few priorities upon which He wanted us to be focused.
Remember… it is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus.