Last December, I put together my new year’s resolutions for the upcoming year. I knew there were areas I wanted to improve in. I wanted to become a better leader, spend more time with my daughters, and, if possible, get better at golf. As I put together some goals and action items, I paused to think about my priorities. You know, the things that were most important to me. So I made a list of things that should be the most important to me:

  1. Jesus
  2. Lindsay
  3. Lola and Harper
  4. Being a pastor

As I looked at this list and then thought of my resolutions, I quickly realized my priorities were not in order. The things that were getting the most of my attention were:

  1. Being a pastor
  2. Lola and Harper
  3. Lindsay
  4. Jesus

My priorities were flipped on their head. Jesus gave this advice to his audience when he said:

… ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
— Matthew 22:37

The truth is that, for all my relationships to work the way I want and the way God designed them to work, I have to start with Jesus in the center. If I get my priorities out of order, things don’t work the way they were designed.

Growing up, my favorite Nintendo game was a game called Contra. I loved this game, but it was quite the challenge. However, if you used a cheat code to get an extra 27 lives, it wasn’t too difficult. All you had to do was enter the code:


If you followed the code correctly, you got the extra lives. But if you got the code out of order, nothing changed. You could enter the incorrect code as many times as you wanted, you could push the buttons as hard as possible, but if you didn’t have the code in the correct order, nothing changed.

If you don’t have things in order, nothing will change. Sounds pretty accurate for video games and for life. Jesus in the center isn’t a good idea. It is a necessary idea if you want to see some changes.