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A reminder of what’s important

January 29, 2011
By Dr. Marvin Parli First Baptist Church of Elkins

Say that you have three or four things to do this weekend. How do you decide what to do and what not to do? You will decide based on what is most important to you. If you are most concerned about having fun, you will decide what looks like it will be the most fun, and that is what you will do. If your No. 1 priority is wealth, you will think, which opportunity has the most financial opportunity, and that is what you will do. Or if comfort is your No. 1 priority, you will not do any of the opportunities and simply become a part of your favorite chair or couch for the weekend, channel surfing the television.

So what is most important in your life? Is it to be successful? Or maybe the most important thing in your life is to be loved? Everyone has a dominant life principle. You may have never thought it through but you use it all the time: Every time you make a decision, every time you make a choice, you assess the situation in your brain and you decide what you're going to do based on this dominant principle of life.

What is No. 1 for you? For Christians, the No. 1 principle is to accept Christ, to know Christ, to grow in our relationship with Christ. After all, the word Christian literally means little Christ or someone related to Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father but through me."

Jesus said, "Those who seek to save their lives will lose them, but those who lose their lives for my sake will save them. Jesus said, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things will follow.

There are many good goals, worthy goals, but make Christ your dominant life principle. Most people want to be happy, and there simply is not enough fun in life, yet do not make having fun your dominant life principle. Creating security and wealth is also not a bad thing, but making wealth how you view life distorts your reason for living. I love my family, but even family is not the dominant principle for living. Those who make family the dominant focus of life tend to smother and ultimately alienate those they love.

The goal of families is to encourage people to grow up in Christ.

Make Christ your No. 1 priority, seek first the kingdom and all the other things will find their proper priorities.

How do you do this? We begin the journey by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord, as our Savior, as our No. 1 dominant principle of how to live. Then we learn to experience Christ in our lives. We learn to listen to his direction. We read his word. Recently, I have been reading and preaching from the wonderful book of hope in the New Testament, Philippians.

Philippians 1:9: "This is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

What a wonderful prayer. Make this your prayer this year. Pray that your love may abound more and more. Pray that you will grow in knowledge and discernment in your life. There is intellectual knowledge which of course is helpful, but knowledge without love only puffs people up. Pray that as you learn in life that your knowledge may be engulfed in an ever deeper love for God and people. Pray for yourself and family and friends that you may abound in his love more and more.

As Christ becomes more and more the dominant life principle for you, as knowing Christ becomes more and more your goal, you will not become caught up in less important goals. Seek first his kingdom. Pray to become more and more pure and blameless. Pray to be filled with the fruit of righteousness. Pray to learn more and more how to glorify and praise God.

This year I challenge you to seek Christ, to grow in knowing Christ, to truly make Christ your No. 1 reason for living.

Seek out a church where you will learn more of Jesus. Read the scripture, learn to be a person of prayer, get serious about what really matters.

(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)



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