PASTOR COLUMN - Be sure priorities are in order — God first


We should all be aware of the importance and benefit that comes from God's Word, the Bible. We are told that the Bible is the Word of Life, or by reading and believing and receiving this Holy Word, we obtain life - eternal life.

We have various places that we can regularly visit or attend to hear the proclamation of God's Word, these Words of Life, and those places are churches where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and preached. Everyone will benefit by hearing and receiving God's Word, and that most well-known Scripture, John 3:16, declares that if we believe and receive Christ as Saviour, we shall obtain life eternal.

To neglect the hearing and receiving of this Word will cause us great loss. In the Gospel of John, chapter 1 and verse 9, we read that the Light, Jesus Christ, lights every man that comes into the world, or makes Himself known to every human being upon the earth and, in some way, extends this invitation of eternal life to all.

Several years ago I visited my doctor and he took some tests and informed me that my good cholesterol, HDL, was too low, and told me that exercise was the only thing that would bring my HDL to a higher, more healthy level. So I bought a treadmill and began my exercise program. After about a year of my new program I visited the doctor and the results were that my HDL reading was still low, not improved, but that my bad cholesterol, LDL, was improved. As the years went by and I visited my doctor I began to see that HDL level begin to rise and over the years rose to a very healthy level, thus this exercise program was very profitable for me.

Now we read in the Bible in 1 Timothy 4:8 that physical exercise profits little. So could we look at that Bible verse and say that the statement there wasn't true?

I think we can garner from that verse that there is benefit from physical exercise; it helps us stay healthy or improve our physical health, but the next part of that same verse tells us that godliness is profitable for all things, benefiting us in this life and especially in the life to come. I believe the essence of this verse is that you can get some, or a little benefit, from physical exercise, but that godly exercise, or pursuing godliness is of far greater value than physical exercise. So I believe it is a good thing to listen to your doctor or your physical trainer and try to obtain a healthier physical body, but of far more importance is to listen to God, His Word, that tells us to exercise spiritually, or pursue something exceedingly more important than physical exercise.

We often hear the question, "Are you better off this year than you were last year, or four years ago, or eight years ago?" Often in answer to this question we think of our health and the economy. However I believe this is a question we should consider spiritually.

Am I closer to God now than I was in past years? Did I know Christ as my Saviour in past years, and do I know Him today? Have I made provision for eternal life as the Bible urges us to do, or will I lose out because I have not received Christ as my Saviour? These are things we should seriously consider. The Bible brings to our attention that we suffer great loss if we obtain the things that we desire in this world but lose our souls.

Seek God, seek to know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, and know that you are providing for the eternal salvation of your soul.

The Rev. Charles Long is pastor of Bethel Assembly of God. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should telephone Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312 or email her at


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