Ask A Pastor
By: Rev. John Campbell,
The United Presbyterian Church, Oakdale, IL
“What should the priorities of a Christian life look like?”
We all have something that guides how we live. We may call it principles or our rules or our way, however we call it, it is what we turn to when we make our decisions.
As a Christian, I have to have priorities that are what the Lord Jesus Christ wants. And very importantly, I have to align with what God’s word, the Bible, says.
When God was fashioning his people, Israel, God laid out the Ten Commandments. So life for a child of Abraham would demonstrate a life that followed those commands. The very first commands are concerned with the place of God as primary in the lives of God’s people. This is followed by commands of how to live with others, that is what we should not do and by implication what we should do.
Jesus was asked what is the greatest command. His reply: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And we know the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. These are two priorities that I need to always try to live my life by.
These are the basis for our lives. To make it plainer Jesus gives us these words: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” A Christian life should be one that lives out these words. As one has said, this is to live for Jesus by the book.
Another important part of living out the priorities of a Christian life is how we deal with our fellow Christians. This is a subset of loving one another. There are so many different denominations and churches, each with a slightly different emphasis. Our attitude is what St. Paul wrote in Romans 14. God has welcomed them in Christ, as they are; so should we. Too often Christians have not shown love and respect to their brothers and sisters who love Christ in a different fashion.
A Christian life is one in which the love of Christ is evident. It should be one in which one’s word is honest and dependable. Paul admonished Timothy to be a workman that did not need to be ashamed. Another aspect of love is to listen to one another, and carefully consider what is being said. A Christian is to value each person as God’s creation for which Jesus Christ died.
It comes down to having a love for the Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to imitate Him since His Spirit indwells us to make us more like Him.