Get Your Priorities Straight

The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.
–Matthew 8:20

What does it mean to burn the ships and be “all in” in your commitment to following Christ? For a Christian, burning the ships means getting your priorities straight.

In Matthew 8, Jesus’ ministry was gaining many followers. Everybody wanted to get on the Jesus train, especially after he healed Peter’s mother-in-law. Matthew 8:18-19 says, “When Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. Then a scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’” Jesus’s reply was unusual. He said, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (v. 20). What did that have to do with the man’s desire to follow Jesus? Notice Jesus neither encouraged nor discouraged this man from following Him. He simply said, “You need to understand what it means to follow Me. I go wherever God directs Me to go. I don’t plant tent stakes that are very deep in the ground. I’m ready to move anytime God tells Me to go. And if you are going to follow Me, you have to be willing to do that as well.”

Today, the American dream is to marry and start a family, get a home, and have a stable life. That is well and good, but occasionally Jesus disrupts our lives. He calls us to do something in order to follow Him. I remember when God told Amy and me to uproot our lives in Dallas and move ninety miles west to Eastland, Texas, to start our ministry there. To follow Christ means to go wherever He says to go.

Notice what Jesus told another man. Matthew 8:21-22 says, “Another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.’” Woah! All this guy wanted was time to go to his dad’s funeral. Jesus was saying, “If you are going to follow Me, the train is leaving right now. Get on board. Let the dead bury the dead.” Now, there is nothing wrong with attending your father’s funeral, but following Christ sometimes means choosing what is better over what is good.

We often think that doing what’s best for our family should be paramount to everything else, including following Christ. If there’s a conflict between the family and the church, we choose the family. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-35? “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother.” Jesus wasn’t saying there is anything wrong with the family; He was saying that if it ever comes down to choosing God or your family, you choose God every time. If you are going to be a disciple, it means following Jesus in your priorities, making Him first in everything.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus’s 4 Tips for Burning Your Ships” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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