In this crazy-fast busy world, take just one long minute and think about what it is that you are actually living for? What is the one thing that drives you to live every day, to endure the hassles of traffic, work, people, bills, etc.? Literally, what single thing makes you get out of bed each day?
As I talk to people, I listen to what is important to them and oftentimes what is most important to someone naturally bubbles to the surface somehow. Sometimes it’s direct, but often it comes out in other, even unintended, ways.
Is it family? The bonds of your spouse and children? Motherhood is a blessing from God. Still, even such a blessing can become an idol, just as a man (or woman) may be consumed by letting himself be defined by his career success. Just yesterday my wife told me that Charles Spurgeon was the oldest of 17, and 9 of them died in infancy. It’s a terrible thought, but every single day someone, somewhere, loses their family–what if tomorrow it was you?
Is it money? I once met a salesperson who said that before her feet hit the bedroom floor each morning she would ask herself, “Where can I get a new sale today?” Whether she knew it or not, she was living for money.
What are you hanging your life on?
There are endless reasons we could give for who we are and what we are living for.
What about what you occupy yourself with doing? In the overall population of the world, very few of us wake up each day literally hell-bent to traffic human lives, produce and sell drugs, lie, swindle, or murder. By God’s grace, most of us would say our reasons and motives are generally good. But are even “good” motives actually the right ones?
Three of Jesus’ closest friends on earth were two sisters, Martha and Mary, and their brother, Lazarus. In Luke 10:38-41, Luke records a story of a time when Jesus visited Martha’s home.
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Marthawelcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’sfeet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. Andshe went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to servealone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you areanxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosenthe good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” [ESV]
When Good is Bad
Martha’s motives were good. But, Martha’s number one priority was wrong.
If you are living your life for family, or success, or money, or even because you feel like the good work you do everyday caring for others pleases God and thus earns you points, these are all examples of the same strategic error Martha made. God’s order of how we ought to prioritize our lives is 180-degrees opposite what we naturally think.
So, what does God say ought to be your number one priority in life?
The Only Right Answer to the Question
“Martha, Martha…but one thing is necessary,” Jesus said (emphasis added). If you and I aren’t living every moment of every day of our lives in rapt attention to God and what he requires of us, we are as lost as ships adrift at sea. We ought to be looking to God every day (reading our Bibles and spending time in prayer with him), the same way a loyal dog looks to its master awaiting the next command.
God is holy. Sovereign. King. Lord. Master. He is God, he dwells in heaven and does whatever he wants. (Psalm 135:6) He created us, and as the creatures he owns, we owe him love and allegiance. Devotion. Surrender. Loyalty. Obedience. Anything less is, as RC Sproul so eloquently put it, “cosmic treason.”
Jesus didn’t suggest we, “repent and believe the Gospel.” He commanded it. He didn’t say, “Truly, truly, you should maybe consider being born again to see the Kingdom of God.” He said we must be. If our first reaction is to try to wiggle away from those truths, we’ve already lost the battle, and exposed what is actually our hatred for Jesus, not our love for Him.
However, we know we are truly born again when the answer to the question we started with is distilled down into one irreducible truth:
Jesus is Lord of my life.
If Jesus isn’t the reason behind everything you do, you are an idolator, and you might as well be burning incense and laying offerings before a stone. He commands you to leave your idols, go to him, and be born again.
And if you say you already are born again, but live like Jesus is some charm on the bracelet of your life, you’re a liar and a hypocrite, and you need to be genuinely born again.
So, today, What are you living for?