In the month of January, we have been discussing “First Things First.” Sometimes our lives get out of balance and we can’t figure out why we’re feeling frustrated, anxious, and confused. It could be that our priorities are no longer in order. A lot of people say you should put God first in your life, but God doesn’t just go first in life. He is to be put first in everything in your life. So, rather than saying God then family then career, it would be God first in family, God first in my career, etc.
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of heaven and all these things shall be added to you.” The first thing to do is seek God’s kingdom. In seeking His kingdom, you seek to know His ways. Do you remember when you were in school and you had to learn the United States Constitution? Most schools take students through a process of not only memorizing the constitution, but also understanding what the words and amendments mean in it. As kingdom citizens, our constitution is the Bible. It shows us the ways of God and how He operates. We learn the ways of our heavenly country through reading the Bible.
In order to learn your country’s constitution, it takes discipline to commit to study it consistently. At The Revolution, we joined in on the 3030 Challenge (Joyce Meyer). It challenges people to read the Bible everyday for 30 days for 30 minutes each day. Each major goal in your life takes discipline: saving money, eating well, or starting a business. It always takes a form of discipline. Discipline is necessary, but when it applies to things to the kingdom, it must be done with God’s help. When we try to make any Godly change, it takes both an internal and external change. If we just discipline ourselves to read the Bible, but have no heart change, it will not benefit us. We won’t absorb any of the information, but we’ll just be reading and studying just to say we did. We can carve out the time to read and study, but if our hearts aren’t in it, how effective was that time? When we invite God in our plans, He comes and changes our hearts. We become hungry for the Word we’re disciplining ourselves to absorb and understand. He develops in us a desire to want to be with Him and study His constitution.
God will come to us and help us in our heart change. It is a gradual change. There is no fast track in the kingdom. We can get a lot of things in this world fast, quick, and in a hurry, but God doesn’t work that way. There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth. As we commit to studying His Word, we grow gradually in wisdom, depth, and intimacy with Him. Discipline isn’t always easy, but the more you stick to it, the easier it will be.
If you’re feeling stuck on getting started on studying the Bible, Joyce Meyer lists four effective steps to begin:
- “Purposely set aside time.” Whether this is in the morning, afternoon, or at night, find a time that works for you. See when you’re most effective and your mind is most clear and receptive to information and hearing from God.
- “Make preparation for your Bible study.” Choose a comfortable room to study in. Pick a comfortable place to sit. Make sure it’s somewhere that you like to be that puts you at ease.
- “Have all your material available.” Of course, make sure you have your Bible, but also bring note taking materials like a pen, paper, highlighter, dictionary, or whatever else you usually take notes with.
- “Prepare your heart.” Pray before you start and empty it of anything that may serve as a distraction. Ask God to open your heart to what He’s trying to say to you through His passages.
Make your time with Him intentional. You’re doing more than just reading a book. You’re learning about your God and His ways. It will be time you spend with Him to know more of Him. When you get started on this, it changes your days. Your day-to-day life becomes more peaceful. You get clarity and direction into the things you hadn’t even thought about before. Seek God’s ways first and you’ll see everything else begin to open up for you.