What do you want out of life?
On Wednesday nights we have been discussing a series of questions submitted by the teenagers. We will be continuing that study, but before getting to the next question I wanted to talk about our priorities and how they influence the decisions we make. I believe this topic will have far reaching implications in our future discussions, so I wanted to cover it first. I illustrated my basic point with this picture:
I’ve never been accused of being an artist. When the teens saw a larger version of this picture on the board last Wednesday, they debated whether it was a tree or road. It is indeed a road with a person poised to walk through a series of intersections, each leading to a different place. These destinations represent what we really want to get out of life. A quick survey of the teens showed that many people ultimately want to be happy. Others want to have a good reputation, be well thought of or be famous. Still others want money more than anything else. These priorities dictate how we make decisions. If your main priority is making money, you may do things that sacrifice happiness if they will lead to greater wealth. The intersections on the drawing represent those decisions.
Biblically speaking, our main priority should be honoring God. This is commanded and exemplified countless times in Scripture. While we are honoring God He may choose to give us happiness, fame, or wealth, but our ultimate goal should be a life that is God-honoring. If it means that we never get any of those other things, so be it. On Wednesday we looked at various examples of people having to make these choices. Daniel 3 tells of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who had to choose between honoring God and having a good life (or rather having life at all). They placed honoring and obeying God as their ultimate priority, regardless of the consequences. Matthew 19 contains an account of a young man having to choose between honoring God and being wealthy. It states that he “went away sorrowful” because, while he prioritized gaining eternal life, his money won out in the end.
Throughout our lives we are going to be put to these kinds of decisions over and over. What we choose will show where our ultimate priorities lie. Do you avoid a needed conversation because you value a friendship or peace over honoring God? Do you continue in a relationship that you know goes against Scripture because you value being happy over honoring God? Do you allow yourself to be lazy because you value personal comfort over honoring God?
The blank can be filled in with almost anything. The way we make decisions will cast light on what we value. So what are the decisions you are making telling you about your priorities?