Lies Women Believe About Priorities
Day 3: Time in the Word
Lie #19: “I can make it without consistent time in the Word & Prayer.”
Have you heard the phrase, “Giving the devil a foothold?” It comes from Ephesians 4:27, and it’s in the context of holding on to hurt and anger. When you indulge in those things, it’s like taking your armor off while you’re at war – it’s going to kill you. And not just those sins, but any sin that you indulge, or as Romans 13:14 says, that you make provision for, opens you up to be destroyed. And the devil does not wait for you to have a vulnerability to come up with an attack – he’s already pursuing you. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to be alert, because the devil is on the prowl, and he’s looking at us for his next meal.
I think too many people dismiss the importance of cultivating their relationship with God through personal worship simply because they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture of spiritual warfare going on in our lives on a daily basis.
The heart of this false belief, that we can make it without consistent personal worship, is our pride. We think we can make it without God’s help. It’s just a day, we think. I’ve done this a million times. I know what I’m doing. I’ve got this. And then we wonder why, at the end of the day… week… month… year… we are frustrated, overwhelmed, and defeated. We forget that God opposes the proud – and so we tackle our busy schedule that is hard enough as it is, not realizing that God himself is thwarting us because we’ve cut him out of the picture.
“The essence of Satan’s deception is that we can live independently of God.” -Nancy Leigh DeMoss
On the surface we all know that we can’t live independently of God, or else we would not be pursuing a relationship with God at all. The problem is our disconnect between eternity and today. We know we need God to escape Hell and enter Heaven. We don’t think we need God today, in this moment. And that’s exactly Satan’s goal. It doesn’t matter if he can’t get you to Hell – he’s okay with making you ineffective until you reach Heaven.
There are two major obstacles in us making Bible study a priority in our lives. The first is the struggle to understand scripture. Just a few weeks ago someone came to me with this frustration. I asked her what she’d been reading, and she said Isaiah. Let me just go ahead and say this right now: If you’re a new Christian, if you don’t know much about the Bible, and if you haven’t really read it before, don’t start with Isaiah. Start in the New Testament. Start with the Gospel of John. Use a devotional or Bible study, maybe even get a children’s Bible. I love my Life Application Study Bible, and I highly recommend it for the very simple reason that it makes scripture so clear and it helps you to understand what it means for you, right here, and right now. Most importantly, never be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t understand it, ask your pastor or another mature Christian in your church. I’m sure they’d love to help you understand scripture.
The biggest obstacle, though, is the very reason we’re talking about this right now. “I don’t have enough time.” Then you’re too busy. God has given you 24 hours each day, and He has provided exactly the amount of time you need to accomplish everything He has for you each day. But if you put first things last and last things first, you’ll never get it all done. The secret to your daily success is found in God working through you, not in you. You’re powerless on your own! Your own sin nature, pride, laziness, perfectionism, anger, resentment, and all of things that follow when you get overwhelmed, are exactly what defeats you. You can only accomplish what God has for you to do when He is the one who is working through you, by His grace (the power God gives to do what God says).
This is important even for doing “spiritual things.” You can easily go to church, sing in the choir, invite people to church, and do all sorts of godly things without God. Ministry can either be done for God, or by God. You can either try to earn something from God by doing things for Him, or you can recognize you can’t do anything on your own, and that what you do on your own doesn’t last because it’s about you, and not God, and then surrender your time, talents, and day to God so that He can work through you.
We must begin each day with God because:
- We need His power.
We cannot accomplish everything we want to or need to without His help.
- We need His purpose.
We will be chasing every distraction that pops up throughout the day if we don’t know what God has for us to focus on that day.
- We need His perspective.
We can’t focus on the Kingdom if we’re focused on us. How do we switch it? By spending time in His word. Part of that includes Him speaking to us about things we must change in our lives, and part of it is gaining His perspective on the troubles we face, or the people we work with, or the urgency of eternity.
- We need His patience, love, discernment, and kindness.
On our own, we become irritable, angry, and frustrated.
- We need His protection.
When we act independently of God, not only do we not bear fruit and end up frustrated, but we also open ourselves up to attack because we’re in the flesh and not the Spirit.
- We need His answers to prayer.
If we haven’t begun the day by making sure we’re right with God, what will happen if we need Him later?
When we operate on our own strength, we get what we can do. And that’s not much. But when we become dependent on God, we get to see what He can do, which is anything. We can “overcome every evil attack,” we can rest at the end of the day, knowing we’ve accomplished all He had for us, and we can feel satisfied and grateful, and ultimate be people who are known as being humble, generous, patient, and kind.
We must choose to walk in His power, not ours. We must choose His ways and thoughts, not ours. God opposes the proud – don’t think you can make it without Him. He gives grace to the humble – isn’t that what you want? Grace? Power? Then recognize your weakness. And remember that it’s at your weakest that you are truly strong.
Make the decision now to make a priority of spending time in God’s word. Study it, with guides. Read it through, cover to cover. Memorize it. It is your shield. It is what changes you, protects you, and gives you perspective and understanding. When you make a commitment to spend time with God in His word each day, it doesn’t change your day. It changes you.
Key points to remember:
- Apart from Christ you can do nothing of eternal or spiritual value.
- If you’re too busy to spend time with God, you’re too busy.
- If you walk in pride, you must be prepared for God to resist you.
Resources for effective Bible Study
- Coffee Cup Bible Studies by Sandra Glahn.
For individuals or groups, these studies are super easy and a great way to get your feet wet with Bible study. Each book includes the scripture reading in it so that you can do your study anywhere, anytime.
- YouVersion App
Get it on your phone or tablet, or use it online. YouVersion has a TON of great reading plans and devotionals, ranging from week-long to year-long. Connect with friends to stay accountable!
Journal your way through the Bible! You don’t even have to use one of these books – just get your own notebook, and anything that stands out to you, write it down!
- Bible Study Journal
Check out this fun 6-month Bible Study journal! Write, color, draw, and engage your creative side as you study God’s word.
Do you struggle with understanding the benefits of scripture? Check out Psalm 119 and be encouraged!
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.