Life is easy. Everything is sorted out in an easy-to-follow manner. Arranging our priorities is always crystal clear. Oh, wait. That’s not life, that’s how it was in a dream last night.
In reality, as most of us are aware, life is challenging and sorting out our priorities is not always clear. We have many obligations and responsibilities like work, family, friends, pets, bills, education, home maintenance, car maintenance and, yes, even church. All of these responsibilities have their own subsets of responsibilities that can all become overwhelming and difficult to prioritize. So, if you turn to the Bible for help, what do you find?
Well, the Bible doesn’t say much explicitly in how to order your life. That’s one of those things we all have to learn to manage ourselves. However, it does offer some truths that permeate all areas of our lives that we can apply to how we prioritize our responsibilities.
Priority: Love the Lord
One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.’”
- Mark 12:28-31 (MSG)
This passage from the book of Mark is so important because Jesus hangs the importance of all other commandments on these two seemingly simple ones. Love God and love your neighbor.
The first commandment to love God with everything you have can be tricky because, well, we don’t really do this. We are constantly wrapped up in ourselves and the small bubble of events surrounding our lives. However, we can strive to create more moments to dedicate ourselves to the Lord, whether it be in thoughts, prayer or time reading the Bible. When we spend time pursuing Him and trying to know Him better, we can grow in our love for Him, which is beneficial for us and those around us too.
When trying to sort out your priorities, if anything conflicts with this first great commandment to love God, you should make some changes.
Priority: Love your neighbor
The second commandment is to love others as you love yourself. Some translations state that this commandment is like the first. Which, depending on how you interpret that, means it’s on equal standing with the first or, at least, is similar in importance but only slightly less important than the first. Either way, the commandment to love your neighbor has a significant standing in value.
So, how does this affect your priorities? Well, when prioritizing our decisions or responsibilities, are you considering others? Are you prioritizing others and how you can love or serve them? Are you making decisions that will have a positive impact on other people? These are important questions to consider if you take the second command seriously.
Priority: Love yourself
Something that doesn’t get enough attention is the latter part of the second commandment: love others as you love yourself. Some people take this to mean that they should treat others as they treat themselves, and this is true, but this command goes a little further than that. It’s telling us to love ourselves better too.
Love others as you love yourself. You can only love others well if you love yourself well. If you overexhaust yourself, have low self-esteem or don’t take care of your body, you won’t be able to love others as well as you could.
Prioritize taking care of yourself. Make sure you get time to relax, exercise or enjoy your favorite activities. When you’re better, others are better.
If you are wondering what it means to authentically follow Jesus, join us on Unfiltered Radio as we investigate who He claimed to be and how He taught us to interact with one another.