Personal Growth
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Priority One: What’s Important Now?

Over the past week I have been down in Orlando, FL attending a large national training conference based around Police / SWAT leadership & operations. The seminars and topics vary, but throughout, I have noticed it all filters down to the art of this: the ability to interpret rapidly flowing information which can change instantly, make a decision, and act.

It has been a blessing to hear from some of the top minds in the nation and listen to wisdom forged in adversity. These men care enough to share their hard gained experiences, including the mistakes, bad decisions, and the hard results that accompany them. What’s painfully clear is the “human factor” always exists, everywhere, with everyone, and in all aspects of life. To a point, we can lessen the gap with training and tools and mindset, but we can never completely close it. Many believe this gap is where “chance” exists… I prefer to believe it’s better suited for grace.

Throughout the week, Christ was speaking to me, almost at a whisper, “I am in all of this teaching. Pay attention and hear with the right ears. It’s all connected through My wisdom. It all applies.” He has reminded me He is found, every time, in the gap. He is woven into the fabric of all creation and the human experience.

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A lot of the teaching we had this week was rooted in clearly knowing our priorities while managing a critical incident. In this particular arena they are: (1) human life, (2) scene control, (3) property protection. In the tactical world those priorities do not interchange. You cannot focus on the second if the first is in jeopardy. In other words, stick to the W.I.N. principle: “What’s Important Now?”

It works the same for all of us, regardless of the calling. Devotion to the priorities will serve as a guide through ever changing situations. Great plans can be blown up in a moment by unforeseen forces, but the priorities are steadfast. They enable us to think and move quickly and effectively through the unknown.

So, how do we determine the priorities?

Simple, we don’t. Instead, we surrender this task to the Holy Spirit.

In Matthew chapters 5 through 7, Jesus talks at length with His followers (that’s us). He tells us, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:33). Priority 1.

He goes on to tell a story of a wise man, an imperfect human like you and me, who adhered to this priority in his life. He said it was like building his house on a rock, and when the wind and waves of adversity beat on it, it endured.

I believe the trap we often set for ourselves lies at the end of verse 33. “Everything you need” is not personal success or security as a reward for obeying. In truth, it’s “everything you need” to live out your true purpose. To discover what you were created for and live abundantly in lockstep with our Father.

Jesus has to be first in everything. The Holy Spirit’s guidance has to be the first priority. One of my favorite moments in Scripture comes at the end of John when Jesus is charging Peter with his life’s mission. He makes it clear it will not be an easy road of happiness and ease, and Peter does what we all do at times…. he looks around. He sees someone else and says: “What about him?” Jesus simply responds, “What about him? Whatever I have planned for him, what is that to you? Your job is to follow me!” (my paraphrase, see John 21:20-22)

This is the priority. This is our compass through the unknown.

What is your focus today? Have you asked Christ: “What’s Important Now?” Can I suggest you seek those answers from Him, first?

This entry was posted in: Personal Growth


J.J. is married to Christine Cole and they have been at Southern Hills since 2006. Their children are Gabby (9y/o) and Tyler (7 y/o). J.J. serves as a deacon at the church, and he is a police officer with the City of Carrollton.

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