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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”—Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
As we learned yesterday, time management is an important skill to master. Our desire is to make the most of the time we’ve been given and seek the greatest return on our investment for our Master. But how do we know we’re getting the most out of our time, even after creating a well-balanced schedule?
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus addresses this very issue. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges His disciples to stop worrying about their future needs because “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:32 NKJV). So, He tells us to stop seeking these things and instead “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). From this passage, we see that the best use of our time is to spend time with the Lord, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.
Sadly, seeking God is usually not at the top of our list. Oh, we may say that our relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in the world to us, but often our lives tell a different story. Consider what Jesus said a few verses earlier in Matthew 6:21 (NIV): “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It’s been said that you can always tell what someone truly values by examining what they spend their time on.
So often, we try to “fit” prayer, worship, time in the Word, church attendance, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines into our busy schedules . . . and then we wonder why we’re not hearing from God, why our relationship with Him sometimes seems stagnant, why we’re not growing spiritually. There’s no way around it: We cannot expect to squeeze God into our crazy-busy schedules and still experience spiritual growth and personal transformation.
But even more than that, we’re talking about the Creator of heaven and earth, the King of the universe . . . why wouldn’t we want to spend as much time as possible with Him? What could we possibly have to do that is better and more important?
If the President of the United States or the Queen of England wanted to spend time with you, would you have to look at your calendar and try to fit them in? Or would you build your schedule around the opportunity to be with such a prestigious and important person? In the same way, we shouldn’t have to “fit” God into our schedules; we should build our schedules around God! We must give Him our best, our first, and our full attention and devotion.
Engaging in the Personal Spiritual Disciplines
What does time with God look like? Below is a list of spiritual disciplines that we as believers should be engaged in if we expect to grow in our faith and experience a deep, abiding relationship with Christ.
Devotion: Hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and applying God’s Word.
Prayer: Time spent talking to God, meditating on Scripture, interceding for and with others.
Worship: Focusing solely on God and responding to Him in spirit and truth. Can be done both publicly and privately.
Fasting: Self-denial for the purpose of drawing closer to God and hearing more clearly from Him.
Silence and Solitude: Getting away from everything to hear the voice of God better, to worship, to be physically and spiritually refreshed, and to regain spiritual perspective.
Journaling: Chronicling devotional and prayer life; helps with self-understanding and evaluation, allows deeper expression and remembrance of God’s works and revelation.
How can you engage in these disciplines consistently? What realistic time commitments are necessary to see growth and transformation? Reevaluate your time management sheets from yesterday in light of these disciplines. Consider how you can make these practices consistent habits in your life.