Then Jesus said . . . “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:23)

TYPE A PERSONALITIES can easily get their priorities mixed up. I know; I am one. We thrive on competition, live for the thrill of defeating others and crave recognition. These traits can be deadly combinations that result in doing the right things for the wrong reasons, as well as overextending ourselves in an attempt to fulfill the innate desire for power and popularity. Despite my godly grandmother’s warnings, my priorities led to me having a bleeding ulcer.

Those of Jesus’ day weren’t immune to misplaced priorities either. Many clung to the long-standing, pagan lie that wealth must be a sign of God’s blessings, while poverty and heartache are signs of sin. So when Jesus told them how difficult it was for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom, they were thoroughly confused. The disciples had left everything to follow Jesus. Speaking on their behalf, Peter wanted to know what their reward would be. His all-or-nothing attitude reflected wrong priorities.

In another encounter, Jesus revealed the ultimate two priorities for believers and the reason we should do everything we do: love of God and love of others. Love conquers all evil, and when we love God and others as He loves us, obedience to His commands and establishing less-important daily priorities will naturally fall in place. Heartaches and trials won’t disappear, but we’ll face them with a new energy and outlook.

Ask God to reveal any current priorities that need changing.

Martin W. Wiles is a preacher’s kid and author who understands believers’ struggles. He resides in Hodges, South Carolina.