“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16-17). These are the words of the Apostle Paul as he wrote that beautiful letter to the Romans. The Apostle Paul after his conversion to Christ endured great suffering and persecution because of this gospel. He was a persecutor and caused great suffering among those that followed Jesus. Now that he has converted, rather than administer the great suffering, he has become a recipient. Yet, in all this Paul claims no shame. Regardless of how Christ and Christianity were being perceived, Paul had found the truth in the gospel and his life was changed. The great suffering was not shame for him because he had a promise from the great Creator. Paul always lived with the priority of serving God but now was armed with the truth of the gospel, the great news of Christ that in Him we have life. He would sacrifice his life for what he considered light afflictions because he was looking forward to eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17). With the gospel (great news) that Paul had received, his priorities in life changed. Paul’s priority was to be the servant of God, and by being a faithful and submissive worker in the kingdom his life and the lives of a countless number has been changed forever.
The power of the gospel should move all to evaluate priorities. Like the apostle Paul, our priority should be to serve God. That is the purpose for our lives. God has made us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).We should desire to belong to God in the lives we live. Belonging to God should lead us to know and understand what God has communicated with us. God has given law in times of old and again the age that we live in now (1 Corinthians 9:21). He has told us how to get back to Him. Man does not have to be separated from God; Jesus has provided a way that leads to God. Let us always study to learn and understand the words of God.
As we study and learn the law of God we understand that he requires worship (John 4:24). He wants us to praise, honor and glorify His name. If we think about what God has done for mankind in the spirit of love, why would we not want to honor Him? God has given us life. Yes we must all pass from this world (Hebrews 9:27). God through His love has provided escape from the second death (Revelation 21:8). Jesus spoke of the second death and the one who can destroy us there (Matthew 10:28). Because of God’s love for mankind, He sent Jesus to become sacrifice for our sins, and thus in Him we may live. This should lead us to a life of praise and glorifying His name. It is a special relationship when one cares so much that the opportunity to live is given. God’s love is immeasurable. Let us prioritize our lives to always worship.
Studying God’s word and living by his commands and given examples, our priorities with other people will be affected also. As servants of God, we are to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). This means that others will see Christ in us. Everyone that lives is an example. Some people are good examples and others are bad examples. God wants us to be a people that others can look at and see something different. What is different is how others are treated and the peace that the Christian has in life. Jesus set forth a different way of thinking in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) for interactions with those that try to harm us. Jesus said specifically, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Let us prioritize in life to treat other people in such a way that they may see the great love of God.
Finally, let us prioritize to make heaven our home in the here-after. God has given us hope through Christ Jesus. This hope should help to overcome worry (Matthew 6:25-34). It should help to overcome anxiety (Philippians 4:6). Our hope is in heaven and that is where our treasure needs to be. Place your treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). This is a place of eternal rest and peace where no end of eternal perfection will be found. All things and people will vanish at some point from this world, but in heaven there is no decay, sorrow, pain, or death (1 Peter 1:3-4; Revelation 21:4). This is the promise of God for all those that overcome in this life. “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).
The gospel of Christ is powerful and changes lives every day. It changed my life. It changed how I think and live my life. I desire to go to heaven whenever that great day may come. Until then my priorities will be to serve a great and awesome God. I will sing praises to His name and offer honor and reverence to Him in all I do. I will search the scriptures to know the truth and I will live a life that I pray will lead others to the great hope that can only come through Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Scott is the minister at the Elm Grove Church of Christ. Meeting times are Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for Bible class and 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. for worship. Mid-week Bible study is on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. All are invited.