Whether we realize it or not, we are in a competition. We are in competition with the world. The world wants our time, our devotion, our money, our talents, our children, our marriages, and our families. The world wants it all. Sadly, most many of us choose the world over God, our faith, our church, our marriage, children, and family. We may not think we do, but sometimes the world can be subtle and deceiving.
Whatever we put in front of God is an idol. Whether that is our job, our hobbies, our kids sports, our bank account, our relationships, etc...anything can become an idol when it is more important than God. We have so many things competing for our time, our money, our attention, and our lives we have to realize we are in a competition and compete for our very souls and the souls of our spouse and children.
It doesn't take rocket science, an engineering degree, or the skills of a brain surgeon to see that in many places the world is winning. People are more committed to their jobs than they are their personal relationship with God. Many people are more devoted to their social lives than they are their part in the body of Christ(the church) and many folks are more interested in their children's sports teams than they are their children growing up to know and love the Lord first. While some of you will be quick to get defensive and make excuses the proof is in the pudding. All we have to do is check our schedule, our monthly calendar, and our checkbooks and see where our treasure and devotion is.
We spend a lot more time, energy, and money on our hobbies, our worldly possessions, our kids athletic quests, or our toys than we do on or with the Lord and His Church. The sad truth is none of these things are necessarily wrong or sinful, but when they take the place of God and His Church they become sin because they separate us from God and they become wrong because they get more attention than God. God doesn't call us to be monks and deny ourselves things in the world, but He does tell us to "deny ourselves daily, and pick up our cross and follow Him"(Luke 9:23), He does tell us to "have no other God before me" (Exodus 20:3) and to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness." (Matt. 6:33)
So, if you can have relationships, careers, jobs, hobbies, activities, and material things that aren't selfish and aren't ahead God or become Lord of you life, then I think those things can be good, enjoyable and healthy. However, we must all always make an effort to keep God first, priority, and work on our relationship with Him for ourselves, our marriages, and our families. If we don't, then all of them will suffer. We must began to look at things in temporary (the world) and eternal (heaven) perspectives.
Scripture tells us this world isn't our home and this world isn't what should guide us
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2) I think that is great advice for us, but more than advice, I think it's a command. No matter what we do, where we go, how we do it, we need to put God first in this world and realize the world is in competition for our souls, but the world has nothing to offer beyond this life. God offers both life in this world and for all eternity with Him. We need to choose wisely, remain faithful, always put God first, and prepare for eternity. In order to win the prize. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)