Habits of Highly Effective Christ-Followers
Put First Things First – Part VI
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:25-34 NLT
Key Verse: Matthew 6:33 NLT
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
Stephen Covey makes it clear that to put first things first a highly effective person must say “no” to anything that does not fit into the “first things” category.
This is a critical truth for Christ-followers as well. The New Testament makes clear that all true followers of Jesus must learn to say “no” to things that do not fit into the lifestyle that Jesus taught. Read Titus 2:11-12:
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
The second sentence of these two verses starts with “it”, which refers to the salvation that God has offered to us. It is this salvation that teaches us to say “no” to all things sinful and unbeneficial to our growth in Christ.
Reading the Scriptures, especially the New Testament, makes it possible to avoid sinful things. These scriptures detail some of the obvious sinful practices to avoid:
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. (1 Peter 2:1 NLT)
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you… (1 Peter 3:9a NLT)
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you… (Ephesians 5:4a NLT)
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6 NLT)
Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have… (Hebrews 13:4-5a NLT)
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do… (Hebrews 10:25a NLT)
Remember, obedience to these “don’t do” scriptures never earns our salvation, they simply are the things that dishonor the God of our salvation.
After we receive our salvation by faith in Jesus, God slowly but surely patiently teaches us to say no to the things of this world that dishonor Him and hurt us. God knows better than we do that sin may be pleasurable for a time, but in the end causes us much pain and sorrow (Hebrews 11:25).
Father, I want to always honor You with my lifestyle. Please help me to see and avoid the things that I do that dishonor You and eventually hurt me. In Jesus’s name, amen.