First Things First
If you think you don't have time for discipleship, for your own spiritual formation, or for leading your family in their spiritual formation, check your priorities.
Sure it's true that in 2018 our lives are jam-packed busy. Most men are working 50+ hours a week, and in nearly half of households with kids in our country, both parents work full-time. Kids are busier than ever too. Beyond the typical school and homework, children and youth are more involved sports, arts, and other group activities than ever before. The options seem endless.
But as Christians, we must remember to put FIRST THINGS FIRST.
What is the most important thing in your life? (or perhaps I should ask "who") If your answer is not Jesus, your relationship with God, then something is off, and you may be committing idolatry - the 2nd commandment!
Anything that you place higher in importance and value than God himself is an idol.
And if God is in His right place in your life, first in importance, first in value, shouldn't He be the first thing to draw from your time and energy, too? For many of us, it isn't a problem of desire or intention; it's a problem of priorities. We so easily fall into the trap of prioritizing education, athletics, friendships, and developing talents and skills above growing in our relationship with God through our friendship with Jesus.
And it starts with us as parents. Our children learn from us; they watch us, and they mimic us. They'll pick up on our patterns and our priorities - good or bad.
Imagine for a moment, your family sits down to dinner at the dinner table (crazy thought in itself, I know) and instead of asking your child(ren) about their day, their school, or their other activities, you ask them "How's your friendship with Jesus today?" or "What did you learn from the Bible today?" or "Has God answered any of your prayers today?" or "Where did you see God working in your life today?" or any number of God-related discipleship questions.
How would that affect your kids? What message would that send them?
Imagine again that your kid(s) wake up in the morning, come out to the living room, and instead of seeing you watching The Today Show or reading the newspaper or scrolling through your phone, they witness you reading your Bible and praying. Again, what message would that send them? What would you be teaching them through your example?
We need to assess our priorities; we need to put first things first in our own lives and in our own homes. This means prioritizing discipleship, prioritizing church - and not just Sunday morning worship.
It means making small groups a priority. It means making your daily devotional time a necessity. It means prioritizing youth group and youth events above other extracurriculars for your kids.
And most of all, it means not just setting the priorities, but actually sticking to them!
I've heard from so many people how much they intend to do something, even prioritize to do something, but somehow it never happens. If you're serious about something, if it is truly important to you, a first priority, then in the words of Nike: JUST DO IT. Make it happen. Put first things first.
Everything else will fall into place around it... I think there's a verse about that (and a song):
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
Put first things first and second things are thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things. -C. S. Lewis