Pursuing the King as Your First Priority
A friend once confided to me, “I’m ashamed to admit that I spend a lot more time on Facebook and in front of the television than I do in God’s Word.”
So many of us can relate to this struggle. In our noisy, busy, media-driven culture, studying God’s Word often becomes that one project we’ll “get to eventually,” like organizing our closet or writing those long-overdue thank-you notes. But our relationship with Christ can’t truly flourish unless we learn to fall in love with His Word and let His truth become a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
There have been many seasons when I have attempted to “coast” spiritually, letting my Bible sit on the table collecting dust while I rush around in a frenzy trying to get everything done. I find myself reasoning, Surely God understands how hard I’ve been working, how tired I am, and how impractical it is to fit prayer and Bible study into my life right now. He won’t mind if I just read my Bible every once in awhile, whenever I can fit it in!
But I have learned that this reasoning quickly leads to spiritual apathy. My excuses hinder my relationship with Christ, and I begin to wane in my commitment to pursue Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27). I start making unwise decisions because I am not allowing His truth to be my guide.
It’s not that spending a certain amount of time in God’s Word each day somehow makes me more righteous. But meditating on God’s truth is what gives me the spiritual fuel I need to live the victorious Christian life He has called me to. Time in His Word stokes my spiritual fire; it keeps my love for Him strong and thriving.
Most of us desire to know God more than we do. We sense our need for more of His presence and power in our daily lives. We feel an aching spiritual hunger in our souls for something more in our relationship with Him. And yet we often balk at doing the one thing that would bring us closer to Him, spending time in His presence and seeking Him through His Word.
Whenever I catch myself saying, “I have too much going on today to spend time in God’s Word,” I know that spiritual apathy has crept in and that I’ve allowed the cares of this world to keep me from Him. I’ve learned that in order to have a thriving spiritual life, I must choose to rise above excuses and make time in God’s Word one of the highest priorities in my life.
Here are some of the practical steps that have most helped me overcome the roadblocks that hinder me from making prayer and Bible study a priority each day. I hope they will help you do the same!
1. Don’t consult your emotions.
Corrie ten Boom wrote, “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Rather, have an appointment with the Lord, and keep it!” This principle applies to studying our Bibles as well. Quite often, prayer and studying God’s Word is not what I “feel” like doing. But when I set a regular appointment with God and honor it, no matter what my body or emotions might say, my soul is greatly benefited.
If we make a habit of doing whatever we “feel like” rather than what God’s Spirit is asking of us, we can be sure that our relationship with Jesus Christ will suffer. Instead of pursuing Christ with true devotion, we halfheartedly read our Bible for five minutes then click on our computer because it feels more exciting to check our email than to labor through the Scriptures. Instead of making personal sacrifices to set aside time for prayer, we give in to laziness and then come up with elaborate justifications as to why we are too busy to fit it in.
Loving our King is first an act of the will, a choice to put Him first, no matter what our feelings may say. Ask Him for the grace to say “yes” to His priorities, and soon you will find that prayer and seeking Him through His Word becomes something you love and desire.
2. Be willing to make sacrifices.
John Bunyan wrote, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” I have found this to be true in my own life. Whenever I allow myself to oversleep and miss my time in God’s presence, the entire day feels “off.” But when I discipline myself and make early morning prayer and Bible study a non-negotiable, I walk in the sweet presence of my King for the rest of my day.
Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33).
When I apply this command to my prayer life and make seeking Him my first act of the day, every other area of my life comes into alignment.
If it is truly not possible for you to build prayer into your early mornings, then designate another time during the day when you can be relatively sure you won’t be interrupted. The key to a disciplined prayer life is regularity, consistency, and commitment!
3. Gather the right tools.
I encourage you to spend some time thinking through what tools could assist you in falling in love with God’s Word.
Can you set aside an area of the house that is quiet and free from distractions?
Can you download some audio Scripture to listen to while you pray and meditate upon Him? Word of Promise is one of my favorite audio Bibles because it is professionally dramatized and is enhanced with beautiful music. Even on days when my quiet times are shorter than I’d like, I can turn on audio Scripture while I’m driving in my car or doing chores around the house and soak in His powerful, amazing words of truth.
Writing Scriptures on note cards and leaving them in your car or other places where you will see them often is another great way to keep His truth as a primary focus of your day. And there are some wonderful inductive Bible study tools out there that can assist you in digging deeper into Scripture. I like BlueLetterBible.org and Precepts.org.
No matter what tools you use, the key is to make time in God’s Word a primary focus in your day rather than an afterthought.
By Leslie Ludy
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