The Urgent and the Important

It’s hard to be a Christian in America.
That may not be a statement you hear very often.  After all, isn’t it harder to be a Christian in Iraq, Korea, China, Pakistan or another persecuted country?
In a way, yes.  Here in America (and other countries like Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, etc.) we have the freedom to gather publicly to worship God, sing praises to Him, and read His Word.  We can have a Nativity scene on our mantelpiece at Christmastime and display a cross in our window at Easter.  We can put a fish symbol on our car and wear a crucifix necklace, if we want to.  We can carry Bibles and sing hymns and worship songs.  We can listen to Christian radio stations and pray publicly before our meals.  We have the freedom to worship God as we choose, and that is a beautiful priveledge.
Books like “Jesus Freaks” and “Foxes’ Book of Matyrs” document dozens of martyrdoms and cases of persecution which have occured around the world, over the centuries.  Organizations like Voice of the Matyrs strive to remember and protect these individuals, but the persecution mounts nonetheless.  Many, many Christians even today are tormented and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Our freedom is an unknown experience for many.
But that doesn’t mean that being a Christian is easy in America and other equally free countries.  Living the life of a Christian is difficult anywhere you live.
Why?  Because our culture is obsessively materialistic.  Living in the USA, we are constantly bombarded by distractions and temptations.  Though it is easy, on the surface, to make the commitment to follow Christ, the actual following out of that is difficult.
Satan brilliantly spins a web of urgency, of work, of home matters, of distractions, and of business, to keep us chasing our tails all our lives, and out of the true battle of God.
In my own life, it’s so easy to let school, music, horseback riding, friends, family, even good things like Apples of Gold, distract me from focusing on God.
Do this now: write out a list of the ten things that most occupy your time.  Is one of them your faith?
The truth is, your relationship with God should be the ultimate priority of your life, encompassing all else.
That does NOT mean that you should ignore your responsibilities and your family.  This isn’t encouraging you to sell all your possessions, quit your job, leave your family, and head to the mountains to live in a cave and live the life of a monk or a hermit.  That isn’t the extreme we are called to.
But perhaps there are things in your life that are keeping you from worshiping God and glorifying Him alone.
You should provide for your family, be a responsible citizen, get an education and help others.
But these should not be seperate pursuits.
Our life shouldn’t be a series of boxes labeled “Work”, “School”, “Family”, “Recreation”, “Christianity”, “Volunteer Work”, “Civic Service”.
Instead, our Christianity should influence and determine and dominate and saturate and infiltrate every single thing we do.
Not only should the morals of Christianity be applied to everything we do, but also the realization that everything we do should be for God’s glory, the good of His people, and the furthering of His kingdom, should completely transform our attitude and mindset.
And we also need to learn how to prioritize.  An article was once written called “The Tyranny of the Urgent”.  The title is so intriguing to me.  Truly, the “urgent” is constantly dominating our lives.
We all make excuses for why we don’t have time for God and His people.  This is the tyranny of the urgent in practice.  What we need to do is to learn to differentiate between the urgent and the important.  We need to learn to prioritize.
What is dominating your life?  What is keeping you from serving God and focusing on Him to the max?  Is your heart sold out to Jesus Christ?  If not, what is keeping you back?  What competes for attention in your soul with worship to your Heavenly Father?
Stop.  Pray.  Nothing is more urgent than this…not your ringing phone, your list of e-mails, work, nothing.  Ask God to help you focus on HIM.  Ask Him to help you prioritize your life.  Cut out distractions.  Focus your heart fully on Him.  Ask Him to help you balance the urgent with the important.  To be a responsible person whose life is centered on Him.  That others may notice.  That we might shine as lights in a dark world.
That we not waste the one chance we have to give glory to the Savior who loves us.
That we not go through life with an irrelevant, unimportant, unnoticed faith.
That we are remembered as people who were sold out for Jesus Christ.
That we unforgettably impact the world around us for Him.
Dear Lord,
Help me.  Strip away the distractions.  Tear away the things that keep me from worshiping you wholly.  Forgive me for my idolatry.  Let me me completely devoted to YOU.  Thank you, Jesus, for loving me and giving your life for me.  Let me give my life to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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