Setting Godly Priorities

“But seek first His kingdom and His rigsettingprioritieshteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

What is really important to us?  People, objects, goals, and other desires all compete for our priority.  Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if we do not actively choose to give Him first place in every area of our lives.  To “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” means to turn to God first for help, to fill our thoughts with His desires, to take His character as our example, and to serve and obey Him in everything.

One of the biggest obstacles that all of us face is the gap between what we think should be done and what is actually done.  It is the pull between priorities and our ability to move the resources needed to attack the priorities.  We know what is important (or at least we think we do).  In our world of instant answers, we try to move directly from bright idea to action plan with little time for contemplation, feedback, and prayer in between.

Yet, I must admit that on several occasions, what I thought was the right time to solve a problem or reach a goal was not God’s perfect timing.  Sometimes, He did make me wait. In turn, this caused me to spend much time thinking and praying for God’s will to be accomplished, especially if His will was different than mine.

Although it is in our best interest to slow down, be patient, and wait for God’s perfect timing, we will only wait for Him if we have a clear basis on which to function.  For me, my main priority is my love and commitment to Jesus – knowing Him, becoming like Him, and worshiping Him.  My second priority is my love for people.  This rises directly from my commitment to Christ and includes loving my family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and even enemies.

Usually, if I appear to have a conflict, a clash between what I think should happen and what actually does happen (because of my limitations or the people involved), I need to examine my priorities to see if they are in order.  This forces me to put my love for God and other people before anything else.  If I ever find myself feeling frustrated, it is usually an indication that I have misplaced priorities.

To commit ourselves to the Lord means entrusting everything – our lives, families, jobs, possessions – to His control and guidance.  To commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust Him (Psalm 37:5), believing He can care for us better than we can ourselves.  Here are four tough questions to answer, but provide the basis for setting godly priorities:

Are our motives pure?  Why do we want to accomplish a particular task?  Will it make us look good?  Will it move us up a popularity ladder and give us more leverage?  We may frown at the idea that we could be less than sincere, but our motivations are complex.  We all struggle daily against the desire for recognition and power.  For example, the same program that will comfort the sick may also score points for the pastor.  This is where our human reasoning often fails us, so we need to ask God to search our hearts.

Does our activity fit in the Bible?  I once heard of a church that runs a bar in its parish hall.  I do not believe that fits into the teachings of the Bible, but the pastor thinks it brings people together in a social setting and contributes to the life of the church, so he is ok with it.  That is an extreme example and our issues may be subtle, but the point is that we need to examine our activity through the grid of the Bible.

Will our goals enhance the lives of other people?  The love we have naturally for ourselves—a constant tendency—should be directed equally toward others (Mark 12:31).

Are we seduced by our culture?  Has society’s worship of size, success, speed, production, promotion, and glamour influenced our evaluation of what God says is good and right?


  1. I agree . . . In our self-directed efforts we often don’t take the time to pray and seek God for guidance and often miss the bigger blessing He has for us. God bless you and yours!

  2. I have found since my knowing God, The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, my ideas have changed. My world has changed. I have some, not a lot but I have some education in the words of the Bible. I can see things a bit more clearly. This is what I found on the topic Joe presents. It is nothing like I thought I would find, and it is the most important lesson to me as I hope it is to others. I did google it, and found this explanation on
    Psalm 37:5
    Commit thy way unto the Lord. Roll the whole burden of life upon the Lord. Leave with Jehovah not thy present fretfulness merely, but all thy cares; in fact, submit the whole tenor of thy way to him. Cast away anxiety, resign thy will, submit thy judgment, leave all with the God of all. What a medicine is this for expelling envy! What a high attainment does this fourth precept indicate! How blessed must he be who lives every day in obedience to it! Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Our destiny shall be joyfully accomplished if we confidently entrust all to our Lord. We may serenely sing —

    “Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
    However dark it be;
    O lead me by thine own right hand,
    Choose out the path for me.”
    “Smooth let it be or rough,
    It will be still the best;
    Winding or straight, it matters not,
    It leads me to thy rest.”

    “I dare not choose my lot,
    I would not if I might;
    But choose Thou for me, O my God,
    So shall I walk aright.”

    “Take thou my cup, and it
    With joy or sorrow fill;
    As ever best to thee may seem,
    Choose thou my good and ill.”

    The ploughman sows and harrows, and then leaves the harvest to God. What can he do else? He cannot cover the heavens with clouds, or command the rain, or bring forth the sun or create the dew. He does well to leave the whole matter with God; and so to all of us it is truest wisdom, having obediently trusted in God, to leave results in his hands, and expect a blessed issue.

  3. Since my personal life is not going the way I want it to go, I am on the wrong path. The Kingdom of God is salvation. In Psalms it says “Lead me in thy truth and teach me; for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.”
    But, here lies my problem: I do not rest in the Lord and trust Him patiently. Instead I fret, letting in the devil to work his wicked ways. So, now that Joe has presented this topic, I have been doing my research. I forget so easily what I have learned in the past and my brain whirls around in confusion.

    The Holy Spirit is our helper and sends my prayers to God. He knows what is in my heart and so therefore I may find my rest and trust in God.
    This is some information I researched in my quest for an answer:
    But as it is written, Eye hath not seen,
    nor ear heard, neither have entered into
    the heart of man, the things which God
    hath prepared for them that love him.
    But God hath revealed them unto us by
    his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all
    things, yea, the deep things of God. For
    what man knoweth the things of a man,
    save the spirit of man which is in him?
    even so the things of God knoweth no
    man, but the Spirit of God.
    Now we have received, not the spirit of
    the world, but the spirit which is of God;
    that we might know the things that are
    freely given to us of God. Which things
    also we speak, not in the words which
    man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the
    Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual
    things with spiritual. But the natural man
    receiveth not the things of the Spirit of
    God: for they are foolishness unto him:
    neither can he know them, because they
    are spiritually discerned. But he that is
    spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself
    is judged of no man.
    1 Corinthians 2:9-16

  4. You pose some good questions for reflection. You are right – waiting is not something we like to do. But contemplation and prayer are necessary.

    Your last question really struck me – yes, I think we have been seduced by our culture. We look around us and can rationalize our spending habits and our beliefs. It is a constant effort to not be sucked into the latest-and-greatest race; to remember that a larger house won’t equal more happiness, but rather more debt, repairing a car costs much less than purchasing a brand new one, and the newest gadget is not worth buying if what I currently have serves my needs.

  5. Great post, Joe. And perfect for the start of a new year. Examining our priorities daily is a must if we are to stay constantly within God’s will for us. Thanks.

  6. In the New Year, I pray for enlightenment and wisdom to know God’s will in my life. The wisdom to know God, to trust God in all things, and to know His will for me.
    5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” I do not have the Chapter of this scripture. Thank you.

    1. Great Rita! That’s James chapter 1. The book of James is one of my favorites! It has many practical insights for Christian living. 🙂

  7. Thank you, Joe, for your faith-filled life and for the consciousness you have of desiring to please the Lord and God’s will for you. And thanks for your feedback in the Bible blog the Lord has placed upon my heart.

    I wish you, your family, your church and all your ministries the love and grace of Christ for the New Year.

  8. Over the many months that I have been following your blog God has said some good stuff, but I feel like this one is so important. This is the core of living faithfully. Be blest as you bless!

  9. This is something I struggle with. Thank you for this post. I will be reviewing this constantly as I let the Holy Spirit teach me how to set my goals, dreams and activities around him. Also to know what healthy boundaries are in every sense!

    1. Joe’s blog has helped me to in so many ways. I have taken some of the scriptures and
      comments and put them in a little photo album. At night or in the morning when I am hiving my coffee, I go through them. It helps me concentrate on my goals, dreams and prayers for my children, grandchildren and others. Here is one. Psalms “Lead me in Thy truth and teach me; for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all day.”
      I cannot count on my own understanding, so I put my thoughts and prayers in the hands of Jesus for all things. Psalm 28 “Unto Thee I cry, O Lord, my Rock; Be not silent to me. Heart the voice of my supplications when I cry to Thee; when I life up my hands toward Thy Holy Oracle. Blessed be the Lord, because He hath heard the voice of my supplication.” I hope this helps. It is important to stay connected, and this blog is
      one of the best way to hear the truth and ask for help, if you ever need it. God bless!

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