03 Jun “8 CHOICES” Spring-Summer Study – Lesson 4 “The Minute Trap”
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, answer the question of authority over your life… all of it, including your time!
The “Minute Trap” is where I’m living right now! Whew! My husband is no doubt sick and tired of my chronic lament, “I just need some time to get caught up!” I’m perfectly aware that God has given me 24 hours in each day and that is sufficient. I just keep cramming too much into them which is why I have requested as part of our summer plans a “staycation” for moi so that I can do that very thing: Get caught up! After reading this chapter, I bet there are a few others out there who could use a staycation, too.
After my adventure last year, time means so much more to me than the ticking of seconds on the clock. Hey, nothing like a cancer diagnosis to give you a clearer perspective on your life and time. Not to be morbid, just trying to keep it real. That’s why I blog under the “Making the Most of Now” title because NOW is all we’re guaranteed… for however long now lasts. Amen? So, we’d better think it through, make some wise time-choices, and get after it in a way that really, truly matters. Or as Jill said, “…sort out a solid theology of time” (p. 87). I like that.
Here’s the thing, no matter what you believe about spending your time or investing your time, the fact is it is not your time at all. It’s God’s. Time belongs to Him and so it makes pretty good sense to me that He should be the first Person we consult in how to use it and He should be the first Person in our day to receive it. To quote one of my mentors, “Jealously guard your relationship with the Lord!” In other words, don’t let anything come between you and Him.
Personally speaking, most often the thing that comes between God and me is not some big, obvious sin issue persey. It’s much worse than that! It’s being busy; too busy doing work for Him to spend time with Him. Yep, I’ve been guilty of this more than just a few times in my life and ministry and let me just say that it will be the spiritual death of us if we buy into the devil’s scheme that “working for God = an intimate relationship with God”. It does not! It’s a lie from you know who in you know where and most of us who call ourselves Christian have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Listen, you cannot have intimacy with God in the drive through lane of McDonald’s! You just can’t. You’ll come up empty, driving around on the fumes of last Sunday’s sermon… and you’ll be madder than a hornet at everyone around you! It’s the truth, is it not? And you can take that one all the way to the spiritually bankrupt bank.
Then again, if Satan doesn’t bait us with the “busy for Jesus” cheese, then he’ll start pitching out every distraction known to man to get us to be busy doing anything and everything- from junk mail, to email, to magazines, to advertisements, to social events and sporting events, to clubs and groups, to you name it. Just busy with stuff that we feel we “should” be doing but ends up like a great, big, scratchy noose around our neck, dragging us off in a zillion different directions like a calf in a rodeo roping contest. Get a visual on that! The worst of it is that we’re dragging our kids right into the same thing, but don’t get me started on that!
Haven’t y’all ever seen the acronym for “BUSY”: Being Under Satan’s Yoke! Duh! Or maybe you’ve heard it put this way, “the captivity of activity!” We live in a culture that simply cannot… no, will not, BE STILL and know that HE IS! I don’t think that there is a person out there in their right mind that comes to the end of her days and laments, “I just wish I’d been busier! I just wasn’t busy enough!” OK, it’s not about doing nothing; it’s learning to take some time to “be” before you “do.”
One of the wisest men in the world said, “God has set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God has fashioned us with a deep, soulful awareness of time and eternity and our enemy knows that all too well. He’s on to us, sisters, and if he sees that we are trying to get a grip on our priorities and a right perspective on time and eternity, then he is going to distract us to no end. And you know what? He is succeeding! So we’ve got to be on to him by prioritizing our time with God. If we want to live lives that matter, lives that make a difference, we’ve got to prioritize our time with God. Yes, He needs to be first on the list as we allocate time for certain things, but more importantly we need to seriously and personally involve Him in the process of planning and prioritizing our time. I literally lay my calendar (yes, I still do it the paper/pen/pencil way so deal with it) out before Him will all my places-to-go-people-to-see-stuff-to-do and pray as Moses did, “Teach me to number my days aright that I may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12) adding to that “Take my calendar, Lord! Here’s what I need to do; here’s what I have to do. You know what I must do. Please help me to do only the things that You want me to do and to only do them in the power of Your Holy Spirit.” Right off the bat I feel the noose loosen and His peace settle in.
Peace. When we use God’s time God’s way, we experience God’s peace.
Several years ago a friend in ministry gave John and me something he called a “30 Day Prayer Covenant”. It is not a magic formula prayer to get God to perform for you. But it is the kind of prayer that I believe God honors. John and I keep a laminated copy of it in our home, our prayer journals and our office. We have shared this with hundreds of friends and I want to share it with you now, challenging you to pray along with me for at least 30 days. I think you’ll find in a short time that your days become more purposeful and your life becomes more peaceful as you give Him complete control and authority over your time.
30 Day Prayer Covenant
Jesus, be the Lord of my life today in new ways:
- Help me to do only things you want me to do
- And to only do them in Your Power