June 17, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
As Christians we have to keep our priorities in order if our life is going to be lived out according to what Jesus said in John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” I want abundant life! And as we have discussed in past blogs, the abundance Jesus came to give is not necessarily the abundance of things, but I believe it is the abundance of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in every situation – even the hard tests and temptations that can come along: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23 – Easy-To-Read Version). If you have these nine qualities in your life – in abundance – then whatever might come along will not defeat you!
But in order to experience abundant life, your priorities must be in proper alignment! And what must be Number One on the list? Jesus plainly showed us as He interacted with a Jewish scribe in Mark 12:28 through 30:
Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together,
perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first
commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the command-
ments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall
love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your
mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
This is the Number One priority if we are to live out our lives as true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ! Then why am I beginning the thirteenth blog on Who Am I? with this first commandment? It is because we too often get my next description of Who Am I? before any of the others! I am a hobbyist – Someone who pursues an interest outside one’s regular occupation and engages in it primarily for pleasure. My hobbies include:
* Writing – I thoroughly enjoy writing blogs for my Gems for Living website. I also write sermons and am working on three books.
* Walking – Because I experience severe arthritis, I walk an average of 40 miles each week to keep myself limber. It is also a great prayer time, and sometimes I catch up on phone calls when I walk.
* Antique automobiles – I have always been fascinated by old cars and trucks. God has allowed me to currently have two – a 1930 Model A Ford sedan and a 1966 Pontiac Star Chief Executive.
* Woodworking – which includes making miniature Shaker furniture, repairing and refinishing antiques, and general carpentry.
* Reading – I concentrate mainly on reading my Bible and other Christian books, but I enjoy a lot of different types of writing.
* Artwork – I take pleasure creating many forms of artwork, from drawing to painting to creating sculptures to….
Yes, I have a lot of hobbies! I don’t have time for them all! But when I engage for a bit of time in one or the other, I derive great pleasure from what I do.
The point is, your hobby should never take first place in your life – especially as a Christian! It says in I Timothy 6:17 (God’s Word to the Nations Bible), “…God…richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” But we dare not make our hobbies the first pursuit of our lives! If we do, we will find ourselves in the same predicament as did the careless Christian standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ in I Corinthians 3. According to verse 11, the “…foundation…[of] Jesus Christ…is laid…” in that one’s life – he is a Christian. But in verses 12 through 15 Paul writes this:
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones,
wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become manifest; for the Day will
declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s
work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures,
he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but
he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
I do not want to get my life’s priorities so out of whack that pursuits of pleasure – my hobbies – take precedence over loving and serving the Lord God! Yes, my hobbies and interests are a wonderful part of my life. But I determine to keep God first – “…with all…[my] heart, with all…[my] soul, with all…[my] mind, and with all…[my] strength.”
What is the top priority in your life?