I love setting a lot of goals and therefore, new year resolutions stress. me. out. I started to think about the standard ones I typically set- read the entire Bible this year, only listen to Christian music, go to the gym more, eat healthier, write more, read more, and on and on the list goes. But this year I decided to try something a little different. What would happen if I consolidated everything? What if every area of my life could improve if I only changed one thing? I’ve read many scriptures in the Bible about tithing and giving God the first 10%. Scriptures on tithing your time.
I thought about how we are quick (or not) to throw 10% in the offering plate and be on our way. But what if you gave God 10% of your time? Could you do that? Would it be easier or harder than giving monetarily? Regardless, this is what I’ve decided to do. I do spend a lot of time with God but not 10% of 24 hours. If you are like any of my friends or family, you might be thinking that is A LOT of time. It is but not really.
What can you do for 2.4 hours a day?
Read the Bible. Listen to the Bible. Meditate on God’s Word. Journal about it. I like to sometimes just pick up the Bible and randomly a chapter. I also enjoy picking a book of the Bible and take my time, analyzing verse by verse. One method that has helped me to be more focused and intentional about my reading has been the SOAP method. Basically, you write down a scripture that stood out to you, your observation of the scripture, how it applies to you, and a prayer.
Devotionals can help add a different dynamic but remember they are still man’s words. I like to use them to stir new ideas and think about God’s Words in a different way. A few of my current favorite devotionals include She Reads Truth, Quite Women Co., Max Lucado (several different devotionals), Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young), and Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest).
Just like devotionals, books offer another perspective and have a way of grouping themes for better comprehension. You can also read about specific things you want to focus on. Worry, fear, relationships, giving, leadership, goals, you name it. I always like to use the fish method that one of my friends told me about. With fish, you eat the meat and throw out the bones. With books, you take the good and throw out the bad. A few of the books on my list include You and Me by Francis Chan (I love his books!), The Four Loves and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and Live Love Lead by Brian Houston.
I love listening to podcasts on some of my favorite pastors and teachers. In addition to a couple ones locally, some of my favorites include Andy Stanley, Charles Stanley, Ben Stuart, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, Joyce Meyer, and Joel Osteen. I am not saying each of these people are perfect but I enjoy the scriptures, teaching, and focus each one of them provides.
Worship music is my favorite. And there are some really great Christian bands out there that help you focus more on God and less on worldly things. Some of my favorite bands include Hillsong, Swithfoot, Kutless, and Everyday Sunday.
Lastly, there are things you can do that involve other people. Church will be one of them and probably the only thing I’ll do consistently. But other ideas include bible studies and small groups.
These are some things I’ll be doing this year. If you have any suggestions for books, music, devotionals, and/or sermons I’d love to hear them. My goal is to spend at least 2.4 hours a day focused intentionally on God. While at the gym. Early in the morning. Before I go to bed. On my lunch break. While driving. The point is- if I am intentional, I know I can do this. Whatever your goals are for 2016, I pray you find your purpose and the motivation to be all God created you to be!
Happy New Year!