It’s so easy to get caught up in the things of this world. We quickly loose sight of the eternal purpose of God in our lives and allow our minds and hearts to focus on the temporal things around us. Personally, I have found myself thinking a lot about my future: Should I go to grad school? What will I do after I graduate? Who am I going to marry?
These big questions easily break down into smaller worries like scholarship and job applications, not to mention work that piles up from a job or school. Before I know it, my life becomes incredibly complicated, with responsibilities and to-do lists piling up.
In the midst of all this, Jesus, with amazing simplicity, calls us to completely change our viewpoint and take an entirely different focus. His words in scripture give us a clear indication of what our priorities should be.
Jesus clearly stated His purpose on earth was to bring salvation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17).
Our first priority should be to accept the sacrifice He made for us on the cross, taking away our sins and giving us eternal life in exchange. However, this is just the starting point.
Along with receiving salvation, Jesus also commands us to surrender everything to him: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:24-25).
This is a little harder for some of us to swallow. We might read a verse like this and nod in agreement, but if we are really honest with ourselves, we shrink back at the idea of giving up our comfortable middle class lives.
We enjoy doing whatever is fun, pleasurable, or entertaining. We don’t really want to put much effort into pursuing God’s plans, because they just might interfere with own dreams, goals, and aspirations. We will happily go to church on Sunday, join a weeknight Bible study group, even have a daily quiet time, but we somehow forget to surrender the other 97% of our lives to God.
Numerous times, Jesus calls us to go out of our way to love others. He commands us to love those who hate us (Matt. 5:43-47), to bless those who can not return the favor (Luke 14:12-14), and even to interact with people of other ethnic groups and tell them about Him (Matthew 28:18-20). True sacrifice, giving of ourselves to others without expecting anything in return, is VERY hard for us.
Jesus calls us to sacrifice our time, our money, and our comfort so that we can bless the people around us. Maybe that means stopping to have a conversation with the homeless guy you pass every day on your way to class, or sending money to a child in a poor country so they can have food and a good education.
It can be as simple as offering a smile to someone who isn’t popular, or sharing your faith with one of your classmates. Jesus tells us that in addition to salvation, we should be focusing on surrendering our lives to him and actively sacrificing for others.
Think about that this week. Ask Him to help you set your priorities straight.