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Priorities evidenced by choices & anxieties, Jimmy Draper says

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Your choices — and your anxieties — reveal what your priorities are, James T. Draper Jr. said.

Draper, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, spoke in chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary March 28 during a LifeWay emphasis week, featuring campus visits by various LifeWay representatives to speak with students regarding ministries and job opportunities available within the Southern Baptist agency.

Summarizing the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, Draper pointed out Jesus’ words about the choices Christians make, about anxieties which could be prevented by making the right choices and about the ultimate priority — seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Draper suggested it is wrong to consider the word, “priority,” in the plural. Although there can be many important things in life, “the truth is there can only be one priority,” he said.

Furthermore, Jesus’ imperative to seek first the kingdom is a challenge to establish that priority, Draper said.

To do so, Christians have to make the following choices: treasuring things in heaven or on earth; looking at things through the dark eye of skepticism or through the eye of clear focus on Christ; or serving between two masters — God or mammon.

One’s choices affect one’s anxieties, Draper continued.

Intimating that the things people worry about reveal their true concerns, he noted how Scripture says Christians should not be worried about the necessities of life for the following reasons:

— Worrying distorts reality. “When you worry, you are saying that the necessities of life are the most important thing,” he said. “You are more than clothing and more than food.”

— Worrying devalues the individual. “If you worry, you are really putting yourself on the level of animals,” Draper said, noting how God richly provides for animals who do not worry. “Are you not much more valuable than they?” he quoted from the Matthew 6 passage.

— Worrying is unproductive. “All worry does is rob you of strength to face whatever you are worrying about,” he said. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” he quoted again from Scripture.

— Worry is unbelief and a lack of faith. “When you worry or when you are anxious, you are actually accusing God of messing up,” Draper said. “You are accusing God of not providing what he promised to provide. You are accusing God of failing to keep his promise.” The Scripture says the contrary: “O you of little faith,” Draper read from the passage. “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows what you need.”

“God knows your needs. God knows what you are facing,” Draper said. “We need to trust and rest in the faithfulness of God.”

Draper said to not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow is always in the future. “Do you know anybody who gets saved tomorrow?” he asked. “No, you never will. Nobody ever gets saved tomorrow. If they get saved, it’ll be today. Nobody ever obeys God tomorrow. They obey God today.”

He continued: “Don’t be anxious for tomorrow. Live today knowing that it is a gift of God given to you.”

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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