It is the transformation of our thoughts and the bringing of them into alignment with how Christ thinks that makes possible the third area of needed transformation – that of our priorities. Our priorities reveal what is truly important to us rather than what we claim is important to us.
Jesus made an amazing statement in John 6:38, considering that He was one of the three members of the trinity. He said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” Here was Jesus committed to doing the will of His father, in submission to His father’s will. His highest priority was to do the will of the one who sent Him.
In the same vein, speaking to His disciples he said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” For the Christ follower, life is not about us – it is all about Him. To the extent that we believe that life is about Him and that we are here to do His will, we will consult Him regarding what is truly important in our lives.
One of the fundamental decisions each of us makes is whether life is about us or about Christ! Life about us is about our agenda while life about Christ is about His agenda, knowing that He wants to use us to advance His agenda in our world. The two choices are mutually exclusive and how we answer that question will directly determine the influence we have for Him.
Even after we have answered that mega question we face the micro questions in many different ways each day, each week, each month, each year. Life is a series of choices and those choices are smaller versions of the bigger question: Is life about me or about God?
The question of our life agendas is a deeply personal one that requires significant thought and introspection. I know pastors, for instance whose motivation is all about success as defined by numbers which looks very much like a personal agenda. I meet other pastors whose motivation is all about helping God’s people become all that they can be which looks very much like God’s agenda. Both are involved in God’s work but their priorities are different. It is all too possible to be in full time ministry with agendas and priorities that are more about us than about God.
As I lead an international organization, I am always faced by the personal question, is this about me as a leader, or is this about God and His mission for our world? The question is not how others see me (it is always possible to portray a God agenda) but my own personal agendas and motivations and therefore priorities. Are they driven by my ambition and goals or is my ambition that of fulfilling God’s purposes and goals. Without introspection on this issue it is possible to fooled about whose priorities we are looking after and probably all of us have occasions or periods when it is more about us than it is about God. And it is often when we have our priorities mixed up that we get ourselves into trouble.
I believe that the question of agendas and priorities becomes more significant as we grow in our leadership responsibility and scope. Responsibility brings with it power and authority. Success brings with it a history of making more right calls than wrong calls. Thus the temptation to act personally without considering God’s agenda or priorities grows as our self confidence grows. Ironically, the more successful we are the more critical it is to ensure that we understand our motivations and that they are centered on accomplishing God’s will rather than our own.