I don’t know about you but I am so glad that the mid-term elections have finally come and gone. Or almost. At the time of this writing there is still no final vote count for the senate race in Florida and it’s like deja vu. We could spend the next two or three hours talking about the whys but they really don’t matter at this point. And, in fact, it’s really not as important as many of us think it is. Many of us have let the ugly politics of today become a leading factor in determining our overall attitude and what a number it is doing on our joy and peace of mind. And what a shame that is! We get so caught up in things that really don’t have an eternal impact on anything or anyone that we lose sight of the most important things. And that is the issue I want us to consider tonight. The issue of proper priorities.
We have previously considered major issues that we are faced with today and have come to the conclusion they are just battles being fought in the bigger war between good and evil. And of course I am referring to those things that God considers good and, on the other side, those things He makes it very clear that are evil. It is very easy for most of us to take a strong position against such things as abortion and homosexuality but it is much more difficult to really consider that we place too much emphasis on some things that really don’t matter in the long run. And I’ll be the first to admit that I am just as guilty as anyone else and sometimes I get my priorities out of whack. So I’ll use myself as an example of what I am talking about.
During the past couple of months with all the campaigning going on and especially the endless barrage of notes on the front door, flyers in the mailbox, radio and television commercials, and candidates surrounding the entrances to the high school football stadiums, I have found my attitude bottoming out to the lowest level it has been in a long time. I found myself getting angry every time I heard the words progressive, socialism, racism, and so many other terms that don’t fit my idea of what is right and acceptable. And I had convinced myself it was righteous anger so it was justifiable. I was becoming more and more bitter with those who would dare stand for those kind of ideas and was ready to unload on them if the opportunity presented itself. All of this was coming to an ugly end with some unintended results. My prayer life began to suffer, my bible study time began to decrease, my relationship with those I love began to wane, and my joy was certainly fast disappearing. And all of this just because my priorities were out-of-order.
So, what happened? Well I guess you could say, like the prodigal son, I came to my senses. Not in some incredible event but in a still, quiet moment as I was reading God’s Word and trying my best to stay focused on what I was reading. It suddenly dawned on me that my priority had become me and not Him. And not my family. And not my friends. And not my church. But me. I felt so dirty and ashamed but realized that it was the Holy Spirit doing what He does best. Convicting, convincing, and correcting. He reminded me of those very powerful words John penned in his first letter, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”, 1st John 1:9. And that is exactly what I did. I’m clean again and I’m putting the right order back to the priorities in my life. There is an old saying that “confession is good for the soul” and I can tell you first hand there is really something to that.
It so happened in my case that my obsession with the battles in the political arena were what took me down the wrong road but there are many other things in life that can do that to someone. As a matter of fact it can be anything that causes us to lose our sense of proper priorities and the results can be very much like the same as mine. It seems many times that it is very small things. But we have a way of making them much bigger than they are but the problem is still the same. The priority becomes ourselves and God, our family, our friends, our church must take a back seat to our desires. It is one of Satan’s best tricks and he knows how and when to use it. So what is yours? What do you put before Him? If we are not as close to the Lord today as we were yesterday we are heading in the wrong direction and where we end up won’t be good. As for me, I am so thankful that He is always near and ready to forgive just like we would forgive one of our own children. That’s why we call Him our Father.