“What is your highest priority in life?”
How would you answer that question? What do most women say? A recent survey of Christian women by George Barna found that 53% ranked family first, while only 16% prioritized their faith. The total number of women who responded with health, career, and comfortable lifestyle is larger than the group that chose faith.
We women have significant influence and responsibility when it comes to our husbands, our children, and often other extended family members. God gives us such relationships as a stewardship, and we want to be found faithful in the end. We have the opportunity to exert more influence there than anywhere else; thus, many of us stay home with children or accept lower-paying positions that require fewer hours to be more available for those we love, hoping to make a greater difference in their lives. God gifted us with family and other good things, all of which can draw us away from what is best.
We are first made for God, not for others. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God; loving others is second (Mark 12:28-34). Our families come after God, not before him. We are called to live out our faith before them and intentionally influence them toward God as we seek to be like him by the power of the Spirit.
Faith undergirds and defines our relationships with our families, not vice versa. Is it possible that we have made family, which is one of God’s good gifts, into an idol? That’s a question that we must each consider—not once but frequently. Many times I have faced the truth that my concern for my children and husband, my involvement in time with them, or my eagerness to make them happy overshadowed my relationship with God and my commitment to his kingdom. Rather than filter my decisions about them through the priority of faith, I put their desires and happiness first.
Consider taking some time to assess yourself, asking God to show you if anything has replaced your love for him. I have found that my time, activities, motives, and prayer requests clue me into what is really in my heart. The great thing is that God is gracious and forgiving; he hears the confession of the repentant child, which includes you and me.
Photo cc by Jesse Gardner on Flickr.