Chapter 2. Your Priorities
Your priorities as a senior officer are unchanged from those of a junior officer, or any other person of God. But the complexity and ambiguity of your environment and duties (discussed in the introduction) can quickly skew your priorities out of balance if you do not maintain a godly perspective. The following study examines biblical priorities. We encourage you to think of them as ever-increasing concentric circles.
Your relationship with God
MATTHEW 6:33. Your most important relationship is how you stand as an individual before God. This relationship provides the basis and perspective for all your other relationships. Having accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you know that God’s Word provides several very clear commands that you are to practice in order to maintain a right relationship with Him.
PSALM 1. This is an excellent selection to return to frequently for reading and meditation. As a senior leader, you will be given much advice and counsel. Psalm 1 sets out a very clear contrast between how to be righteous or wicked, and the results of each. The first word of the Psalm is “Blessed,” the last word is “perish.” The difference between the two is delight in and meditation on God’s Word.
As a military Christian, you will be involved in spiritual warfare. You understand combat. A military force has specific needs to perform properly on the battlefield. You also have these needs, which include the following:
- PSALM 119:105. You need light–the ability to “see.”
- 1 PETER 1:23-25, 2:2. You need food–energy to perform.
- EPHESIANS 6:10-17. You need protection and weapons.
- EPHESIANS 5:19 and EPHESIANS 6:18,19. You need to communicate–up, down, and laterally.
Continue each day to read God’s Word and to commit your circumstances to Him in prayer. If you have never established this practice, you will need it all the more to maintain His perspective on your situation. If you are a new Christian, and you have not had the opportunity to develop your faith and testimony as you progressed in rank, find a Christian peer who will disciple you. Other Christians will have well-intentioned expectations of you, and you may feel pushed to act beyond your level of spiritual maturity.
Find a Christian peer to whom you can be accountable and to whom you can turn for counsel, even if you must do this by long-distance communications.
Your relationship with your spouse
GENESIS 2:24. (also quoted by Paul in Ephesians 5:31) Upon marriage, God looks at husband and wife as one flesh. This is the next most important relationship after their relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Marriage partners should continually reflect on the dimensions of: 1) leaving, 2) cleaving, and 3) being one flesh. This relationship needs constant attention in the demanding environment of senior leadership.
EPHESIANS 5:21-33. How are we to love our spouses? This Scripture sets forth some of God’s primary commands for marital relationships, as follows: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (vs. 21). Become one flesh (vs. 31).
- Love your wives as Christ loved the Church (vs. 25).
- Love your wives as you do your own bodies (vs. 28).
- Nourish, protect, care for and sanctify your wives “by the washing of the Word” (vss. 26, 27, 29).
- Adapt yourselves to your husbands (vs. 22 24, (Amplified)).
- Respect your husbands (vs. 33).
Your relationship with your children
PSALM 127:3-5. Children are a special gift from God. A military professional knows arrows are weapons of war that must be given particular care. We have a special responsibility to care for and train our children.
3 JOHN 4. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth! ” John is speaking of spiritual children, but God’s Word continually uses family examples that should also be happening spiritually. Children who walk in the truth should bring us greater joy than a promotion, a success, or a mission accomplished.
1 TIMOTHY 3:4,5. One of the qualifications for responsibility outside of the family is to have family business–that which God says is important–in proper order.
JOSHUA 24:15. Family priorities include more than simply paying attention to and ministering to your spouse or children. Your family exists to serve and to minister as a unit. The purpose and internal functioning of military units serves as an example to help us understand and apply this principle.
Your relationship with your ministry and your work
EPHESIANS 4:11-16. If the Church is to be effective in doing what God expects–worshipping Him and reaching out to society–it must be healthy. Its members must be doing what God has gifted them to do where He placed them. When a man or woman fails to do this, then someone else is burdened doing something they are not gifted or placed to do, or something God intended to be done isn’t being done.
COLOSSIANS 3:23, ROMANS 12:11. Your work has intrinsic value to God. He expects you to do your best in your work (not necessarily to be the best among your peers). A specific uniqueness of OCF is that we encourage our members to see their work as their ministry, not a place of competition. The concluding section of this booklet speaks to this.
These priorities will often seem to compete for your time and attention. There will be a time when your work will place extremely stressful and lengthy demands on you. You may have only a limited time to spend with God, family, or religious activities. Consider these three points:
- Your relationship with God is preeminent. You should never forsake or slight it. It is the most powerful resource that you can take with you into the stress and intensity of senior leadership duties. It enables you to have a ministry even when most of your time and energy is devoted to military responsibilities, such as during a field exercise, a deployment or in combat.
- You will have to spend time away from your family. That is the nature of the military profession. Show your family, by your concern and your actions when you are home, that they are more important than career success or promotion. Then they will have the strength to endure periodic demands that shorten your time with them.
- Separations hurt. If you demonstrate that your career is more important than your family, you may expect serious problems. If, however, you show them the love of Jesus Christ and His care for them, these separations can be times of growth and ministry for you, for your spouse, and for your children.
By itself, your work will leave you unfulfilled, regardless of how senior you become. Seeing your work as an offering to God and as your ministry field, taking opportunities for ministry as He presents them, will leave you fulfilled regardless of how high you are promoted.
We encourage you to spend private time with God in continued spiritual growth, in placing an appropriate emphasis on ministering to and with your family, and on seeing your military duties and relationships as ministry!
What is your sense of priorities as a senior officer in your relationship to God? To your family? To your ministry? To your duties?