Once you consider what’s best and set your priorities you are well on your way to being unstuck. Once you’ve understood the significance of priorities, the next step to getting unstuck is actually to determine the most important things in your life. To do that you need the clarity to know what’s best. So, step two to getting unstuck and away from feeling overwhelmed is to “clarify what’s best.”
To do this you should start be asking what’s most important to God. And ask, What isn’t important to God? This will help you to determine what you need to focus on in your life right now and what you can start deleting. And, of course, deleting some things in your life will help to reclaim the calm that you have lost and then remove that feeling of being overwhelmed.
To regain forward movement in your journey of life and remove that feeling of life overwhelming you, evaluate your activities. Delete things of less importance to keep things of greater worth. I can’t give you an itemized list of what should be important to you. Each of us is unique and so each of us has different things we are dealing with that need to be eliminated and other aspects of our busy life that need more attention and greater effort. However, in Mark, Chapter 12, Jesus gives us three principles that should be central to everyone’s life.
These three principles are the subject of today and tomorrow’s blogs.
In that passage, a Jewish temple scribe approached Jesus asking advice on how to organize life. How to set priorities (Part Two in this series). How to live a full life without feeling overwhelmed. His specific question was, “Which is the first commandment of all?” (Mark 12:28)
The Great Commandment! The one above all others. The ultimate priority. In effect, the scribe was asking Jesus, “What is truly important in life? From God’s perspective, what one thing is indispensable?” “What should my priority be?”
This scribe came from a Jewish tradition boasting a multitude of commands and obligations. Jewish rabbis divided the Old Testament commandments into positive and negative laws and into major and minor laws. According to the calculations, the Old Testament contained 613 commandments. Of those, 248 tell us to do something positive and 365 prohibit us from doing something negative. This scribe was asking Jesus which of these 613 commandments was most important from God’s perspective.
Jesus answered without hesitation: “The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
What an answer! Jesus boiled down the contents of the entire Old Testament into one overarching, overwhelming priority: love. And He ascribed to that priority three applications. All three to be priorities in a life well-lived and unstuck. Without understanding this, it’s impossible to move forward and live life without feeling overwhelmed. Love — as God defines love — is life’s ultimate priority.
The priority of loving God … Highest priority
First is the priority of loving God. Quoting from Deuteronomy 6, Jesus said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
More than anything else, this is what we’re made for — a passionate, practical embracing of God with all His attributes, all His virtues, all His grace, embracing Him with an overflowing heart of burning devotion and passionate enjoyment. That affects everything else we think, do and say.
But what does it mean to love God?
In his book, Do I Love God?, professor Rod Culbertson says the greatest question is: “Do you have emotions and passion for, and devotion to, the one living and true God, as well as a settled commitment that He is the Lord of your life and everything to you?”
Culbertson also asks, “What keeps you from loving God with a devoted, heartfelt love? Work, play, leisure, family, poor time management, technology, laziness, sin, or personal failure? The excuses and reasons are numerous and somehow allow us to ignore or underdeveloped our relationship with God, the most important relationship in life. So, I conclude with one more question: Are you growing in your love for God?”
Elizabeth Elliot likewise said, “I have one desire now — to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord putting all my energy and strength into it.”
That is the first of three things we need to consider as we clarify what’s best.
So, we have seen that we need to continue our journey with Jesus as we live our daily life. And, often we tend to get stuck and simply exist and not really live. And, in the midst of being stuck we feel totally overwhelmed by all the things that need our attention. Some of the solution to feeling overwhelmed include:
1> Consider what’s best
2> Clarify what’s best
a> The priority of loving God
Next time we will look at the priority of loving people as we continue to “clarify what’s best.”