Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is This It? Part 4

This week, we continued the series, “Is This It?”. In this part we discussed another of the wilderness traps we need to learn to avoid. This trap has to do with having the correct priorities for our lives.
Most of us would easily name the top priority (our relationship with God), but we get into a trap when the enemy convinces us  to include things in that top priority that do not belong. He also likes to trap us into miscategorizing other priorities – or simply getting them completely out of order.
Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek first His kingdom.” When we have the priority right, we can then expect “all these things” to also flow in our lives. Notice that it also does not say seek ONLY His kingdom. There are dreams and desires in your heart that are okay to pursue and work toward, but do not let them become what you seek FIRST. The reality is that those true heart’s desires you have are likely to have been placed there by God anyway. When you seek Him first, He’ll come along side you and help you achieve those things.
So, the first priority is our relationship with God. What is the second? It is family and life obligations. After that comes ministry and purpose/dreams. One of the traps I alluded to earlier was that sometimes we confuse and combine relationship with God and ministry. They are not the same thing.
We cannot adopt an attitude that if we get immersed in doing God’s work that He’ll just take care of all our responsibilities – like our families. God has equipped you to do both! Moses learns this lesson in Exodus 18.
In Exodus 18:2-3 we read that Moses sends his wife and two children to go stay with her father, Jethro. This is presumably because he is so busy with attending to the needs of the people that he has no time to care for his family.
A few verses later we read that Jethro brings them back. He is essentially saying, “No way. This is YOUR responsibility, not mine. I already raised her. Now she’s yours.” But what is Moses supposed to do? He has millions of people looking to him for direction and for him to speak for God.
Jethro takes a look at how Moses is doing things. He asks Moses why he is doing everything alone while all these other people are just standing around all day. He goes on to give Moses a lesson in leadership and delegation. Jethro recognizes that if Moses continues to act as he is, he will fail his mission and his family.
Moses takes Jethro’s advice and organizes, delegates, and sets up structure and a chain of command. Then Jethro goes home – without Moses’ wife and kids. Mission accomplished.
Now, there is an interesting thing to understand about Jethro. He is not an Israelite. In fact, he is a Midianite high priest. He sacrifices to idols. Why would Moses receive any guidance from a wicked idol worshipper? Why? Because he was right!
God can use all kinds of sources to bring truth to our lives. Certainly the Bible is our first source, but not our only one. There are a lot of people and books out there who have a lot of knowledge that can help us. As long as that knowledge is not in conflict with the Word in any way, it is good. Understand also that Moses did not ask for or receive any spiritual counsel from Jethro. That would be an area in which Jethro’s knowledge would not be true wisdom. Moses demonstrated a humble, teachable spirit.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when we either become first born again or when we hit new, exciting levels in our Christian walk, there is a zeal that drives us to the bigger things that God has for us. You should never  allow the enemy to use that zeal against you – to get you to neglect what you’ve already been given to do.
Luke 9:61-62 illustrates this. Many have ready this passage and believed that Jesus was telling this man that, to follow Christ you must be willing to leave your family without even saying goodbye. Jesus was actually saying quite the opposite. You see, when Jesus uses the example of a plow and a field, he does so intentionally. These are images and symbols in the Word for your family – the field you have sown into and continue to work.
What Jesus is actually saying is that you are not worthy to come follow Him if you would walk away from the field you’ve been given the responsibility to take care of. You already have a field to plow – your family. Don’t walk away from them in your zeal. Jesus is telling the man that he does not have the freedom to just walk away and join Jesus’ ministry. Maybe you don’t have a family to care for, but maybe you do have responsibilities that it is not okay to walk away from just because you are excited about what God has for you in the future. Be faithful with what you have now, and God will add other things when it is time and you are ready.
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