We have all heard the quotes and the illustrations about being prepared, and they are all good, such as a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln - “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Everyone of us (hopefully) spend time preparing for work, an exam, for an upcoming presentation, etc.
One thing we are often intimidated by is being the godly person that God wants us to be. He commands us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16) which is a very high calling. When we look at who we are we realize that we have a very long way to go to even start to be who He expects us to be.
Let me encourage you - IT IS NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK! There are some basic things that each of us can do to become that holy spiritual person. Now, I'm not saying that you need to become a monk which is not what God wants nor is necessarily holy. I am talking about WALKING WITH GOD. If we can learn to walk with God, spend time with God, get to know God, allow Him to change us - then I can become that holy spiritual person that He wants me to be.
Here are some things that can help you be successful. Now these are not spiritual things, but they are basic habits that will help you to be able to walk with God successfully. Now, before we jump into it, walking with God involves many things but all fall into simple categories: Bible reading, prayer, worship (personal, family, and corporate [church]).
Here are some things that I do to make sure I can spend the time; be on time; be rested; be ready to do these things in my life:
CONCERNING DAILY DEVOTIONAL LIFE:
- I go to bed on time, so I can get up on time (we have to be disciplined about this, but our time with God each day is of vital importance)
- Each night I gather my devotional materials (Bible, prayer list, journal, pen, glasses, iPad for Faithlife church prayer requests, even my back pillow on my reading chair) so I can be ready first thing in the morning.
- I actually get my coffee set up the night before, my wife's tea kettle and tea bag in her cup ready to go.
- I sound goofy, but I lay out my work-out clothes for the gym which I do right after my devotions most mornings.
- I have my phone, iPad and even my computer go to "do not disturb" automatically for my devotion time (1 1/2's roughly for me depending on what time I get up) so there are no distractions from text, notifications, calls or emails.
- I do all the things above - including laying out my clothing for church (you need to do that for the kids as well) we always did.
- I also need to make sure I don't overdo Saturday nights. As a matter of fact I rarely schedule something on Saturday evening because I can wear myself out and then I am not 100% for God on Sunday mornings (you would be surprised how many people miss church on Sunday because they gave away their best hours to something else on Saturday and stayed up too late). We've got to give God better.
- When I worked a secular job, I always gave church the priority and did all I could to request, badger, and get my church service times off. Not always possible for all, but if you pray and try, God will help you.
- For Wednesday nights we always have our meal planned ahead so we can be at church (still do that today). Lately, we plan a nice cauliflower pizza for after church, there are other times when we would plan a light meal before through a take out order, or cold cuts at home.
CONCERNING FAMILY DEVOTIONS:
- Everything above, with these additions:
- You can do it with supper, sit down to eat, read the Word together and pray.
- Do it before anything else - everything else is a distraction, God's Word is the most important thing for our families, spend time in it.
- It is a good time to encourage discipline with the kids in their devotional life, you can incorporate a family reading time, and then send the kids to do their personal reading and prayer.
Success in our Walk with God is sometimes just making the necessary preparations to have the time and energy to do what we God wants us to do. This is not a complete list, but just some ideas that can help you draw close to God in 2022.