Looking for one way to dramatically impact your year? Keeping God first will radically change your life. You’ll experience more joy, peace, vision, and fulfillment by the end of 2017 and see God move in ways you never thought possible.
But for that to happen, a little reflection is needed. Our tendency is to drift away from God instead of toward Him. If you keep God first in these 5 areas of your life, it will result in tremendous personal growth and change over this next year.
I’ve been thinking a lot about kingdoms lately. There are only two kingdoms in life; the Kingdom of God, and the kingdom of the Enemy. Which kingdom do you want to invest in this year?
Pride is wanting our own kingdom and sin is the evidence of Satan’s kingdom at work in our heart (Edward Welch). Quarrels, anxiety, fear, shame, insecurity, bitterness, self-absorption and death are all part of this kingdom.
In God’s kingdom, there is freedom. When God is King of our hearts, we receive peace, joy, love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and hope. We have a generous God who gives us the desire, power, resources and ability to follow Him.
“The two kingdoms are in conflict. In everything we do, we make spiritual decisions: we live in dependence on the Spirit and imitate our God, or we set off against the Spirit, in which case we are separating ourselves from the Life-giver to go on end-stage life support. When we live apart from the Spirit, we are still connected to a spiritual being, but the spiritual being is Satan, the Evil One. One kingdom is ruled by fear, the other by mercy and grace” (Edward Welch).
You can’t serve both yourself and God. You must choose a side. Since we will automatically gravitate away from God and His kingdom, we must be diligent to keep realigning our allegiance and our heart.
Many of us say we want to put God first, but would our time reflect our heart?
What we do with our time reveals a lot about our priorities and kingdom alliance.
Our time is precious and coveted, probably because most of us feel we lack control over how we spend it. We only have a fixed amount of hours in a day and demands that usually overdraw. The problem with time is that we constantly spend it without the ability to get more of it.
With all that in play, it makes sense why many of us devote the best part of our time to accomplishing the most urgent and important demands of the day.
But here’s my challenge. I bet that if you devoted the first and best of your time to God, that you would get more return for your time spent.
It would be if it were not for the unique and supernatural transaction that takes place when you give your best time to God. Intimate, uninterrupted time with Jesus realigns your heart and renews your perspective, helping you see above the daily grind. During that time, God exchanges your burdens for peace and provides clarity, vision, and direction for your day. Think of it as setting your course each day in a way that will make you more productive, less stressed, and focused on what’s most important.
Still have your doubts? Give it a try! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Consider giving God the first of your time this year in these three ways:
- Devote the first day of the year (or first week) to God. Seek God’s vision and goals for your life in 2017.
- Devote the first day of the week to God. Set aside Sunday as a day for rest, recreation, and prayer. Prepare for your week by aligning your priorities with God’s kingdom.
- Devote the first minutes of the day to God. There are many ways you can do this. You can easily use Proverbs 31 Ministries First5 app on your phone where you can start your day with a reading plan or short devotional.
We will naturally drift away from spending time with God as we feel the stress of daily demands. Giving your best time to God takes discipline.
I have trained myself to get up every morning and grab my Bible, journal, a cup of coffee and spend a solid hour with Jesus. I prefer mornings because they are quiet, like I am stealing some precious moments before the world awakes and the busy hum of life kicks in.
Maybe your best time is over your lunch hour or in the evening. Whatever works best for you, give God the first of your time this year! I promise you won’t regret it.
We serve a generous God who freely gives what is costly.
If God owns the world, has every resource readily available to Him, and gives generously without fault, there’s no reason for us to hoard or be stingy. Children in the kingdom of God are to be generous and hold onto their possessions loosely (Welch).
This year, create margin in your finances and resources so that you are positioned to give generously when a need arises. Check out Michael Hyatt’s ideas on creating margin in your life.
Tithing is another way to keep God first with your resources. God doesn’t need our money; all the gold and silver are already at His disposal (Haggai 2:8). The point of tithing 10% of our income is to serve as a reminder to us who comes first.
Will we give the first of our labor to God, trusting that He will provide for us? Or will we withhold it because we doubt His generosity and goodness toward us? Tithing is simply a trust exercise to reveal your kingdom allegiance.
Everything we have, we have received from God. This includes our talents, abilities, and gifts. God put a lot of intentional thought into designing each of us for a unique purpose.
What is your purpose? What were you created to do? How do your personality, natural abilities, and spiritual gifts complement each other? Take some time this year to think about the way God wired you and prayerfully ask Him to reveal His vision and purpose for your life.
What ways can you use your talents this year to impact God’s kingdom instead of just building your own?
How often do we schedule our days, weeks, and year without ever thinking to consult God first?
Think about it this way. God has been actively and personally involved in your life from the get-go. He designed you and is equipping you for a specific role to fill. He is currently moving in your life. He is leading and guiding you, testing and training you through every obstacle and hardship. He loves you and wants to be in an ongoing relationship with you.
If God is this personally invested in you, wouldn’t it make sense to ask Him for direction when planning out your agenda, schedule, and life?
This year, instead of deciding what our goals will be, let’s ask God what His goals are for 2017. Let’s keep Him first this year. Focusing your heart, time, and resources on Him will bring more peace, fulfillment, and influence than you ever thought possible!