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June 30, 2014

Comments

Lilly

This chart is a wonderful reminder. Thank you! I have always wondered about the wisdom of purely linear priorities, and you have put into words what I have long suspected. Your biblical insight has put feet on 2 Cor. 10:5, "destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God." I am no longer thinking of priorities only in terms of "God first," but am now adopting the term "God Alone." This does not absolve me from the necessity of using wisdom in decision making, or listening to God for clear direction, but it is freeing. This idea actually widens the scope of my individual responsibility for obedience to Christ, and at the same time allows the mundane to become a significant arena where God may be honored by humble service.

Jim

Preach it, Lilly!

Grace running-Nichols

Excellent focus Jim, thank you...and nice footnote Lilly!

RF

I am so grateful for this master principle of "God Alone." I am still wondering how to deal with situations that require me to choose one "hat" over another. So often, we are confronted with two equally important options that require us to make a choice. What biblical principles help me decide what hat I should wear?

Jim

What a perceptive question, RF! Yes, you are right that choosing between hats could easily throw us right back into the quagmire of 123! Someone could embrace “God alone” and yet say, “I am always going to choose to wear my spouse hat whenever I have to choose between it and my parent hat.”

Hopefully, after reading articles in the priorities series, we have all taken two major steps forward by recognizing that our goal is to serve God alone, no matter what hat we wear. We will have taken a step backward, however, if we then develop some sort of hierarchy of hats!

Circumstances often dictate what hat to wear. While driving the kids to school, I wear the hat of the law abiding (and courteous!) citizen. When the children are fighting in the back seat, it’s time to don the wise parent cap. I might need to pull over in order to switch hats. But these roles are thrust upon me by circumstances.

When I face a choice about which hat to wear, and must decide between one hat or another, now that’s a whole new kettle of fish. (Do I hear a protest? “Jim, you’ve already got me dizzy from dumping Dagon and switching hats, and then you throw a bunch of fish at me! What is this – Nickelodeon?”)

There are principles in the Bible that give us guidance about “conflicting hat choices.” And I debated writing another Light-work article for this series in order to share them. But the more I got into this, the more principles I discovered. So, I resolved to do a second “priorities series” (future date unknown) that explains some of what I have tentatively called “first principles.”

Here is one “first principle” to illustrate: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take [aorist, imperative] the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3–5).

Jesus is telling us what He wants us to do. So compliance with this command fits with our “God alone” master principle. In this command, however, He gives us a sequence. He wants us to deal with our own sin BEFORE helping someone else with theirs. So when we face a choice between getting right with God or helping someone else get right with God, we begin with ourselves FIRST. Then we help someone else.

I am still collecting “first principles” to go with our master principle. Maybe you have spotted some in the Bible, too. Feel free to share!

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