What are some of the most important things God has given believers to tend to?
A. Our first priority is fellowship with God, our daily abiding and devotion to Him. After Jesus died, the temple veil was torn from top to bottom, symbolizing that the separation between God and man had been healed. An individual could have direct access and fellowship with God, but only through the forgiveness gained by Christ’s death.
Matthew 27:50-51 “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.”
In John, chapter 17, Jesus prayed that His disciples could have the same close relationship that He had with His father. The language indicates that we, as His children, can address Him as “Daddy”, and can come to Him as a child who crawls right into the lap of a father for encouragement, fellowship and love.
Christians need to learn:
- The importance of setting time aside each day to be with God and how to use their imagination the correct way considering what Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 reveals about what is going on 24/7 in God’s presence.
- To talk with God giving thanks, praising Him and asking for His help.
- To read His Word for the purpose of receiving from Him instruction and fellowship.
- To meditate over what is read and even consider the idea of journaling.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing”.
To abide means “to dwell in constantly; having a close, dependent relationship”. And when you do this, God promises that you will bear MUCH FRUIT! You will grow spiritually, just as fruit naturally appears on the vine; Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. Can the fruit grow separate from the vine? The Scripture says, “…without Me (Jesus), you can do nothing”. How much can you spiritually grow without Him? You can produce NOTHING on your own. You are totally dependent on God’s Holy Spirit, His Word and His power. You must learn and abide in Christ if you are to tend to your God-given responsibilities.
B. If married, the spouse has second priority after God.
Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her…”
It is very clear by these Scriptures that marriage is a priority to God, yet most Christian couples are ignorant about tending to one another according to God’s Word. The divorce rate within the Church is a testimony (to this fact)
C. Children are the next priority.
Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
I have spoken to many men’s groups over the years. I usually ask the following questions to reveal how far we are from teaching God’s will concerning tending to our families.
- How many men here have had a job for more than 10 years? How many of you went to school or received training to do that job? Most raise a hand in response.
- How many feel confident to train another man to do your job? Again most will raise a hand.
- How many have been married for more than 10 years? Usually, more than 75% raise a hand.
- How many feel confident enough to teach another man how to be a husband or parent according to God’s Word. Most of the time, not one hand is raised.
In summary, I ask another question. “Do you think the Lord is more concerned about your job skills, or about how well you tend to your wife, one of His daughters?” One day we will all give an account of how well we tended to the responsibilities given to us by God.
Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”
This reminder is not to devastate anyone, because none of us will ever be perfect. But Paul is saying in this verse above, “press on”, which means to take God’s will to heart and apply ourselves to improving in the future. We all must continue to learn and work out what God tells us to do according to His Word. A disciple is a devoted follower of his master, with the desire of becoming like that master; becoming more like Christ is the goal.
A disciple cannot press on without investing time and attention to learning. Families are in trouble today because they either are not aware of all the information available to help them, or they are not pressing on by learning and following God’s Word. Many Christian couples are settling for relationships that are far less than what God desires for them. How many just do not know where to get the help they need? It seems that weekend retreats, books and even counseling is not solving the problems.
Did Jesus indicate the best answer would be in books and retreats?
John 13:15 “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
Jesus always advocates personal example and personal relationship as the first battle line against sin. This requires time spent in relationship with someone who is willing to invest themselves in the spiritual growth and progress of another. This is discipleship, the effort of a believer who has been tried through suffering and temptation and has learned obedience, a person who is now able and willing to come alongside another, or others, to guide, teach and strengthen them.
The Church needs to understand that retreats and counseling are helpful, but they are no substitute for discipleship when it comes to equipping people for success in the Christian life.