Another Step – Priorities
“...He started out so young and strong, only to surrender.” –from Jackson Browne, The Pretender
A priority isn’t a priority until there’s a conflict. Maybe the most vivid and powerful way I teach my guys about priorities is how I enforce the requirement that they attend every session, be on time, and do their net-outs, homework, and scripture memory. This, in and of itself, sets up conflict. Over the course of the mentoring season, things will come up: work conflicts, out of town meetings, social opportunities, great free tickets to sporting events and concerts, kids’ activities—all good things, but in conflict with the Radical Mentoring group meeting schedule which they set and agreed to at the start. As one of my early mentors put it to me, “Sooner or later, you’re going to have to decide what’s first.”
Where we end up in our walk with God is the result of a series of decisions we make and priorities we set and defend.
If each day, we decide that getting out of the house and on the road to beat the traffic on the way to work is a higher priority than reading our Bible and praying, that priority-setting will have a huge effect on our relationship with God. If we decide that “spending time with our family at the lake” is a higher priority than actively participating in church, then we shouldn’t be surprised when our kids grow up with little regard for the local church. Our priorities guide our decision-making. And decisions have consequences.
The foundation for setting and honoring priorities is faith.
We have to trust God enough to ‘pass’ on those opportunities that don’t align with our priorities. It’s awfully hard to NOT take advantage of what we think are rare chances to do fun things. But living God-centric lives requires setting priorities and then living them out. And since we’re “wired” to do what’s best for ourselves, our faith in God is the only consistent way for us to see that “the Godly choice” is the better option, even if it seems we’re giving up something more valuable in the world’s eyes.
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