It certainly behooves a Christian to think long and hard on the manner in which he or she lives his or her life. “What exactly are my priorities?” “How now shall I live seeing that I’ve turned from sin and self and placed my faith in Christ?” “What really is the main thing to which I want to devote my passion and energies?”
If such questions are meaningless to someone who has supposedly become a Christian, then he or she needs to examine the condition of his or her heart. Consider the work of heaven effected in you as the righteousness of Christ is credited to your life! “…If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, Who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18,21-6:1 ESV).
Frankly, the signs of the times suggest that His grace and goodness towards us as Christians have had little impact on how we live. Wherein His love and power do not change priorities, habits and attitudes (and self and sin still reign in us), His grace bestowed upon us has proven vain indeed… vain in securing for the Kingdom of God the domain of our hearts… vain in opening up the territory of our lives and yielding fertile soil for the growing of spiritual fruit… and vain in allowing us even to come into the place where we may be most blessed by the King of glory.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9 ESV).
Making every effort to live a life that is going to count in eternity means (dare I say it?) letting go of some things in order to pursue the “main thing”. The main thing? Yes… a close walk with God. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and (all your needs will be met)” (Matthew 6:33). “(Jesus said), ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Let your love for God be manifested in how you plan your life. Do hobbies take precedence over service to your Lord? Does sleeping in on Sunday cancel your joining with other Believers in offering worship to the Holy One? Do ballgames come before your serving in God’s work? Does television preempt your private time in prayer and in reading His Word?
If any of these things are true, “make every effort” to reorder your life and place yourself on the altar of His love. Based on all appearances, the argument can be made that the Church is anemic – lacking in vitality, power and conviction. If this is so, it is merely because God’s own
people hold back and let other things come before the “main thing.” Don’t let other things depose God’s place on the throne of your life. Even “good” things must be sacrificed in our choices if they must be had at the expense of the “best thing of all.”
“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)