“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
We are creatures of habit, aren’t we? Whether those habits are beneficial to us – or even if we regret them time and again – we tend to repeat the same behaviors day after day:
- We light another cigarette, even though we just said yesterday we want to quit.
- We eat the brownies in our pantry, even though we’re aiming to lose weight in the New Year.
- We camp in front of the TV for hours most evenings, even though we want to be the kind of person that goes for walks and reads novels instead.
- We leave things laying where we last used them, even though we long for uncluttered surroundings.
- We buy a new Bible, figuring that will propel us to get in the Word more. Two weeks later it sits on the shelf.
We want to be the person God calls us to be, so we use January to make New Year’s resolutions about how we’re going to change this year. We give voice to that longing in our hearts to be different – to be somehow better. And we decide to give a heart-felt go at changing.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, it’s a move in the right direction. However, the Bible advises us to check our plans against the Lord’s, and then ground our commitments in His truth and power in order to succeed.
Remember this, for the Holy Spirit to facilitate God’s work and purposes in us, He must first (re)define our definition of reality, and our priorities.
For example, say that you wish to spend time in God’s Word in 2011. Great – that’s God’s will for you as well. For that to happen, your habits must change. And for that to happen, your perception of reality must be redefined.
I’m guessing you currently believe, and your current actions demonstrate, that you don’t have time to really pursue God like you want to. You’re convinced you’re too busy to join a Bible study, or have a regular quiet time of prayer and Bible reading, without quitting your job or neglecting your family in the process. But is that true?
“God has given everyone enough time to seek Him. It is there,” says Francis Frangipane. He continues, “Those who would find God, find time.” “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV).
When a favorite TV show comes on, we find time to watch. When a favorite store announces a big sale, we find time to go. When a friend wants to meet for coffee, we make time to meet her. We find or “make” time all the time! So rest assured that if you live a healthy, God-honoring life, there is plenty of time there to grow in your knowledge of, and connection with your Creator.
It is true that in our busy lives we cannot do everything. But we can choose which things absolutely will get done. We can choose what to do first. And that’s precisely what the Bible tells us to do. Jesus calls His followers to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and then He promises we will have all we need (Matthew 6:33).
It is also true that our willpower is limited. Our dedication wanes. Our intentions are good but our follow-through is shaky. We don’t have what it takes to revolutionize our entire lives. But God does — and He lives in us. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3, NLT).
You absolutely have time to spend 10 or 20 minutes a day getting to know God and His promises for you in His Word. You also have the extra eight seconds it typically takes to put an item back in its place. Watch one less TV show a night and you’ll have created time to read three or more books every month, and take a brisk walk after dinner. Seek God first – time after time – and you’ll even have the power you need to put down the brownies or cigarettes.
We are creatures of habit – let’s make it our habit in 2011 to seek God first each day and commit our plans to Him. I think we will marvel at the results, time and again.
Dear Lord, today I seek Your face, wisdom and Your will. I give my plans to You and I ask that I may operate in Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Spend the next 10 minutes alone with God and your open Bible.Reflections:
For the Holy Spirit to facilitate God’s work and purposes in me, He must first (re)define my definition of reality, and my priorities.
Psalm 37:5, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” (ESV)
Ephesians 5:15-16, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (NLT)
Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (NIV)
© 2011 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.