Before my husband and I got married, we went to pre-marital counseling. And one of the exercises we did was to list the five things that were most important to us - just to make sure we were on the same page.
Well, of course the first few items on our lists matched. Everyone knows that God comes first, then your spouse, then family, etc., etc., on down the line. (I don't remember what we put for 4 and 5, but we both had pretty predictable answers.)
The thing is, it's one thing to make God your #1 priority on a piece of paper. That's easy to do. Everyone knows that.
But actually living like it? Well, that's a whole different matter altogether.
The truth is, as much as we say that we put God first in our lives, the truth is that most of us honestly don't put Him first as much as we think we do. And if we were being completely honest with ourselves, we would realize that we had a lot of work to do.
Don't believe me? Here are four times you may not be making God the priority you think...
(Note: This is not to be taken in a judgmental way - these are definitely things I struggle with too! But neither of us can improve in these areas until we first recognize that they exist. Which is the point of this post today. Just some food for thought and growth.)
1. In your finances
Do you give to your church on a regular basis? Do you donate to charity? If so, do you do so out of a sense of obligation or out of a spirit of abundance and joy?
The fact is, as Christians, we should be the most generous people of all. There are hurting, needy people out there who desperately need us to help take care of them, and we are called to.
If you have enough money for cable TV, a gym membership, a fancy cell phone, new clothes for you and toys for your kids but you can't afford to give to the church and/or charity, you may not be making God your #1 priority.
2. In your schedule
When Sunday morning rolls around, are you ready and eager to go to church? Or do you dread the thought of going every week? What about the rest of the week? Do you make meeting with God and other believers a very regular part of your life, or do you only go when you have to or when there's something in it for you?
Yes, Christians should absolutely attend church regularly if at all possible. If your family is sick, you're super pregnant or disabled, you don't have transportation, or you're working through some serious hurts, then you may have a legitimate excuse. BUT even so - how is your attitude towards God and the church? Are you sad that you're missing out and trying to find ways to meet with God and His people in a way that you can? Or are you looking for any excuse you can find to get out of it?
If you have time for a couple hours of TV every night, time to take your children to their favorite after school activities and time to go out with your friends on the weekends but you don't have the time (or energy) to make it to church on Sunday mornings, you may not be making God your #1 priority.
3. When making big decisions
Exciting news! You just got proposed to, got a promotion, found a house and/or starting talking about having babies! Life couldn't be better! Or so it seems ... sometimes the things that seem like the clear choice to us aren't really the right choice from God's perspective.
When you are faced with a big or important decision, how do you respond? Do you dive right on in, excited to get started? Do you make a careful list of pros and cons. Do you call your mom and ask for her advice or talk it over with your husband?
While all of these are good things, you may be forgetting the most important thing of all - going to God in prayer to find out what He thinks.
Because when you truly put God first, your life becomes less about you and what you want and more about God and what He wants.
Can you honestly say your life is perfectly aligned to His will? Do you know? Have you asked?
4. In your choice of entertainment
Everyone loves to unwind at the end of a long day. What's your favorite way to relax?
While there is definitely nothing wrong with enjoying a great book or movie or other form of entertainment other than just being at church all day long, sometimes the things we choose really aren't the best for us.
When's the last time you really listened to those song lyrics you put in the car? When's the last time you really paid attention to how much sex and violence you're watching on TV? The truth is that we watch and listen to so much garbage that we become desensitized to it after a while.
Do you really want to spend hours every day watching shows that glorify premarital sex, crude humor, revenge and selfishness? Do you really want to fill your mind with obscene language, images of people dressed questionably or plain ol' stupidity?
Colossians chapter 3 tells us to set our minds and hearts on things above. Are you doing that?
If this article made you uncomfortable, that's a good thing. That means you have some things to work on. The truth is, we ALL have things to work on. And now that you know what a few of them are, you can.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Equipping Godly Women. It has been republished here with permission.
A devoted Christian, wife and mother, Brittany loves helping other women grow in these roles as well. When she isn’t busy taking care of her growing family, you can find her at Equipping Godly Women, where she regularly shares tips, tricks and encouragement to help you be the amazing woman God created you to be. Brittany also has a thriving online community on Facebook as well.