I have often thought that if the Devil can't make a man bad he'll make him busy. When I am busy or in a hurry it is impossible for me to have quality relationships with God or people.
The Devil knows this and is able to hide behind any man's "busy" schedule to accomplish his goal: the destruction of his relationships. He is very aware of the fact that to really know someone a man must learn to slow his pace down to be present and connect. There are the simple mechanics of healthy relationships that can be easily destroyed through external over-commitment and its partner – hurry.
Satan's scheme gets men playing the "busy" card as a justification for lack of quality in their connections with God and people. A full and robust work life should be an expectation of men not a rationalization for why our relationships are weak – especially when it comes to your relationship with God. Get that.
It is a healthy expectation of men to earn a living, provide for a family and secure their future. Take that seriously. But when our "to-do" list overshadows our "to-be" list as a believer, husband, or father, then something could be amiss with our faith and understanding of who God is, and what he wants from us.
There's no commandment in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt overcommit yourself for this is honorable." No, Jesus said the most important commandment is to give energy, time and presence toward two sets of relationships.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself." — Matthew 22:37-39
So, what does that look like in the everyday life of a modern man?
Have FAITH in God.
Men need to put more faith in God to provide and guide than faith in themselves, their abilities and schedules. Do that and God promises to provide for your needs, and give you an abundant life.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." — Proverbs 3:5-6
The number one enemy of faith in God in your life is pride and self-sufficiency. God says he would like you to replace that with healthy and humble dependency. Both build a strong relationship with Him.
Have FOCUS on God.
God created men to be in relationship with Him. He yearns to be acknowledged throughout your day, to be sought-after, to be known. When we overcommit, our relationship with God suffers. But if we focus on God and living the way he intended us to, he promises to provide power and peace beyond our understanding. It's a win-win transformation.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." -- Matthew 6:33
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."Colossians 3:1-3
There's your life and God's Kingdom. One exists within the other but Satan wants you to believe God's Kingdom exists to fit into your Kingdom. We borrow great troubles with that mindset. Think like a kingdom man and continuously pray: "Your Kingdom come Your will be done."
Make FREE TIME with God.
Crowding our schedules leaves little time for God. Try re-thinking your day and week to include a "timeout tithe," meaning give God your time and attention every day. It's like giving yourself a daily tune-up, filling your gas tank or getting an oil change. If we don't replenish, refresh and refuel, our engine will burn out.
So, open your Bible, open your heart and mind. Ask God to speak to you then listen. You will find nibbles of truth from the Word will become feasts for life.
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:1-3
Another easy step to take is to honor the Sabbath. God modeled taking one day off from work, so should we. Jesus "withdrew" to be with God. There must be a reason if the Creator of the universe wants us to take a break from it all, and focus on our relationships at home and with Him.
"Be still, and know that I am God." — Psalm 46:10
Perhaps the best example of well-placed, well-timed prioritizing in the Bible is the brief story about the visit Jesus made to Martha's house. Read this, and let it marinate in your mind, and then assess which sister you reflect in the story.
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." — Luke 10:38-42
Well, was it Mary? Are you too "distracted" to spend time with Jesus?
Jesus is saying to all men who claim a connection: You have to SLOW to KNOW Me.
Kenny Luck is the founder of Every Man Ministries and the men's pastor at Saddleback Church. His 20th book – SLEEPING GIANT: No Movement of God without Men of God - is a blueprint for men's ministries, and was released through B&H Publishing. Watch and read more of Kenny's teaching here at EveryManMinistries.com. EXPLORE: "Media Vault" for related resources. Follow Every Man Ministries now on Facebook, Twitter (@everymm,) and YouTube.