So much of what we do every single day is the result of habits that we have formed over time. And when it comes to establishing healthy, new patterns in our lives, I've found that spending time with God and acknowledging Him in all of our ways is one of the most important and rewarding habits we can ever develop (see Proverbs 3:6).
I can tell you from experience that God's help and presence in our lives is vital. He is the Author of all true success and everything that is good-without Him, we can do nothing of true value. Spending time with God through prayer and His Word is a prerequisite for having a great life and fulfilling your purpose.
Now, it's true that we can improve ourselves through discipline and even have some success, but will power will only bring us so far. The truth is that nothing can really take the place of having a healthy relationship with God.
I absolutely love Hebrews 11:6. It says that God …is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (NKJV). When we draw near to Him, He fills our lives with His strength, peace, joy, provision, and favor…and blesses us in ways we can't even imagine.
Prayer doesn't just change things-it changes us. If we are diligent in seeking God, slowly and surely we become better people.
Putting First Things First
When it comes to our everyday habits, it's important to ask: Am I putting God first?
It can be easy to put ourselves and our reputations first…or our friends…or our possessions. But when we continue to put everything else ahead of the Lord, we cheat ourselves out of something good that God wants us to have.
I tried for many years to work God into my schedule, but it seemed like I never found time. I had good intentions, but procrastination got the best of me. I was always going to spend time with God later on…or after the "one more thing" I was going to do.
The result? Not much was working right in my life or in my ministry. I was frustrated most of the time and felt like I was barely making progress. I am grateful to say that God finally got through to me! I have learned how to work my schedule around God, who is first, rather than trying to work Him into my schedule.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
The answer to my problem (and yours) is simple: Come to Jesus!
It's not about having a program to follow-it's simply about forming a habit of putting God first in everything we do. If we will seek first His Kingdom, He has promised to add everything else that we need. (See Matthew 6:33.)
Where to Begin
My ten-year-old granddaughter recently came to me and said, "Grandma, I want you to tell me how to spend more time with God because I'm so busy." I thought that was cute. I thought, Honey, if you think you're busy now, you just wait!
I told her what I'm about to tell you: Just start somewhere. So many people never start at all because they think they need a huge chunk of time to begin. Or they end up doing nothing if they feel like they can't do everything.
Here's what I recommend: Start by taking some time in the morning to talk with God in prayer and read His Word-even if it's just five or ten minutes.
If you plan on spending your time with Him later in the day, then I encourage you to take at least a few moments in the morning to get started with God on your mind. Acknowledge Him and ask for His help. It can be as simple as saying, "God, I love You, and I appreciate everything You do for me. I really need Your help with my day."
Sometimes we are defeated because we try to begin where we should be finishing, or we try to do what someone else is doing. The truth is that God will meet you where you are right now. As you take a step of faith, He will give you the grace and strength you need!
Remember, don't allow yourself to do nothing simply because you can't do a lot. If you want to form a habit of spending time with God, then start small and go from there.
Today, I can truly say that I am addicted to spending time with God-He has become a necessity that I require every day! Perhaps you are at a point in your life where you are ready to form the God habit. If so, I want to encourage you to take a moment right now and ask Him to help you get started.
As you do, you'll find that His guidance and presence are things you just can't live without.