Ask A Pastor
Scott T. Sharp, Pastor
First Baptist Church Nashville
“What should the priorities of a Christian life look like?”
In Matthew’s gospel, a Pharisee asked Jesus a question: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus’ priorities centered on the relationships of life – relationships between people and God, and relationships people have with one another. Why was that true? Because only the relationships of this life are going to survive in eternity.
You’ve heard the saying, “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-haul.” The saying reminds us the material possessions of this life are not going to translate across into the next life. As Job said, “Naked I entered this world and naked I will return to it.” The same is true for each of us. We bring nothing into the world when we’re born and we’re not going to take anything out of it when we die. Our souls and spirits however, the intangible parts of our personality that make us who we are, are going to live on eternally in our resurrected bodies and scripture tells us that we will know others as we are known by them. Relationships will survive in eternity and thus, relationships should be the top priorities in a Christian’s life.
Again in Matthew, Jesus makes this point but in different words. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus emphasizes the heart and all throughout scripture the heart is recognized as the center of one’s being and the center of relationships.
Relationships require maintenance, so how can a person maintain a healthy relationship first with God and then with others? Confession and forgiveness. In I John 1 we read, “If we walk in the light, as he (God) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In Matthew 6 we read, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” To maintain healthy relationships, a person must be able to say two things: “I confess,” and, “I forgive you.”