At the start of every new year, I pray through this list of questions and consider all that God has done in this past year and set goals for the year to come.
I want to eat healthier and work out more (just like the rest of you). I want to watch less TV and read more books. I want to be kinder to people and call my family more.
But here’s what I know about me, (and probably you): something is going to get dropped this year. When week two of month three rolls around some of your goals are going to get consumed by life.
How do you know which goals matter most? I’m thankful for a Father who prioritizes for me so that I can keep the main thing the main thing. Here are three of the things that matter most to God:
1. Consistent time in the Bible. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”. “Faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God”.
Faith = pleasing God. Faith= hearing the Word of God.
You do the math.
Driving to work this morning I was thinking about the lie that we believe our whole lives: there will be more time for that later.
‘Starting next week I’ll have more time for Bible. Starting next year I’ll be better at being in the Word. When my kids are older…when my job is less crazy…when I’m done with college.’
There is never more time for you then today. Prioritize the Word today.
My friend Angela wrote a great blog with some practical tips on how to do this. She also wrote the paragraphs below specifically to mom’s, (but I think it applies to all of us):
Maybe you’re a mom with young kids and it seems impossible to sit down and read the Bible every day. I’m with you. I have three kids – ages 4, 2 and almost one year. But, I can’t parent without the Word. I make too many decisions for my family every day to not have the wisdom of the Word. I interact too often with my kids and discipline them and teach them too much to not be grounded in Scripture. I live with my husband every day and react to his words and his actions that my heart has to be soaking in the Word if the reactions I desire are going to come out of it. I talk with friends and share my life with people – and we are all struggling and trying to glorify God with our lives – I don’t have anything of value to offer them if I don’t read my Bible.
2. Consistent time in prayer. “pray without ceasing”. That’s what God says. In case you’re not convinced, here’s what Spurgeon says:
If any of you should ask me for an epitome of the Christian religion, I should say that it is in one word – prayer. Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell.
3. Consistent time with the lost and least. You know what I bet you really want this year? To be continually guided; to be satisfied, for the glory of the Lord to be your rear guard, to be like a watered garden.
Well, here’s God’s plan for you:
If you share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:7-11 ESV)
Here’s what I know. You are not going to wake up in a year and suddenly have the energy to read the Bible or the discipline to pray or time for people who are lost and alone. I want these things to happen out of an overflow of faith, but life with God is sometimes like a trust fall activity.
You don’t fall backwards in those exercises because you already trust people; you fall backwards so that you can learn to trust them. Sometimes we have to act in faith we don’t yet feel in order to get faith.