Knowing What Matters Most
How do you determine what matters most in life? I can’t overstate how important your answer is. To be successful you must learn to look at a situation and say, “This is important and needs my attention.” But it’s just as important to be able to look at a situation and realize, “This isn’t important…it’s not worth my time and energy.”
The Bible says it this way…
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you.
– 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)
The Apostle Paul wrote that to the church at Corinth. Essentially, he told them, “Look guys, just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Not every opportunity you’re given in life is worth taking.”
So how do we determine what’s beneficial? Here are a couple questions to ask yourself…
The first question is "Will I choose what’s easy...or what’s best?" This question comes to us every single day in many different ways. We have to decide “Am I going to live what I believe…even when it’s not easy?”
George Gallup, a noted researcher of American lifestyle, has written about what he thinks is the number one cause of stress in our country. He calls it an “incongruent lifestyle.” That means we’re not living what we believe. When push comes to shove, we choose the easy road rather than the road that aligns with what we are convinced is true…because it’s too difficult.
Our bodies weren’t wired for mismatches like this. When we live in ways that don’t line up with our beliefs, we generate a lot of stress. For example, if we say we value marriage but don’t do what it takes to have a strong relationship, it creates stress. If we follow Jesus but continually make decisions he wouldn’t make…it creates stress. The list goes on and on. The result: we suffer from divided loyalty. As James put it:
Their (our) loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they (we) are unstable in everything they (we) do.
– James 1:8 (NLT)
When we “walk our talk,” stress disappears. So don’t fall for what’s easy. Choose to do what’s best.
Another question to ask is “What’s going to last the longest?” You don’t want to waste your time investing in something that won’t last.
Short-term thinking is one of the greatest weaknesses of humanity. We make incredibly poor choices when we choose to live for today without thinking about how our choice will affect tomorrow.
John talked about this in a letter he wrote to the first century church:
This world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
– 1 John 2:17 (NLT)
Our decisions have consequences that reach into the future. When you’re tempted to sin, it’s not only a battle of good vs. evil, it’s a battle of now vs. later. Am I going to do what God says and enjoy the benefits later? Or, am I going to do what I want and enjoy the benefits now?
When making a decision, answering these two questions can help keep you from a lifetime of regret. Your life will flourish when you choose to do what’s best, even when it’s hard. Invest in the long game, and God will show up to bless you again and again. And someday, you’ll look back and say “It was worth it.”