“So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
Our primary question for “Step 1” in the process of counting the cost of investing in Bible study is this:
Where is there an opportunity for me to make time?
The seasons of life are so varied for each of us, and even more varied from person to person. As a woman I can say that we inherently love to be assured that we are “doing it right”, and that often means (we think) that we’re doing what everyone else is doing. That confirmation bias runs strong!
But when we use other people to tell us what “right” looks like as far as making a daily schedule/routine/plan and set our time with the Lord, we run the risk of kicking God out of the equation. The Lord has a plan for every moment of every day, and He will hold us accountable for whether or not we follow His leading.
Let’s look at some scenarios and some pitfalls we may see in our own lives.
Are you a stay at home mom with littles too young for school? I find myself in that camp so I know how full these days are. Housework, child care, meal preparation, financial planning, schedules, appointments, all take up an enormous amount of our day. For those in this arena, it may be more effective to take our study and discipleship time in portions. Shorter periods of time spread out through the day, during naps or while the littles are playing, might be the best approach for us at this time in our lives.
Remember, Mama: We can’t lead our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord if we are not being lead in it, too. Our kids are never an excuse for us to neglect our sacred time with Jesus.
On the other hand, you may be a career woman, or perhaps in full time ministry – with or without a spouse but not with young children. Your schedule is still full but you have more control over your day to day. You may be able to take early mornings or late evenings and designate a longer, single period of time in your daily schedule for Bible study. This flexibility is a wonderful gift but also a weighty responsibility. I will say this next bit loudly so please listen, friend.
Your time in your Bible is far more important than your career or ministry!
If you prioritize your career or ministry position over God, it will be as if you are investing into a conman’s scheme. You will give everything but you will have nothing to show of eternal value. Your work will not bear the fruit that it might if you keep God as the focal point of your life. Haggai put it well when he said, regarding God’s people putting other things before the house of the Lord,
“Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” (Hag. 1:6)
This brings us to our final example scenario. You may be single and in school or working a job, just starting out in adulthood. You’re learning how to budget your time and what it means to be responsible for that time management on a more independent level. Your parents aren’t scheduling for you anymore but your academics dictate where your free time falls. In this case, you’ll just have to choose a time of day where you don’t have anything else going on outside of your control and just consecrate that time to the Lord. This may mean that you have to say no to outings with friends or superficial pursuits now and then. And that’s okay! In fact, it’s more than okay. It will do you a world of good to learn to put aside the “good” to prioritize what is “best“.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2
Time to wrap it Up.
The fact of the matter is that we are all given the same number of hours in the day. Regardless of how busy we all feel, God still expects us to steward the hours He gives to us with wisdom. If you’re not sure where to start with this or it feels like too challenging of a goal, take this instruction from James and act on it:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
It’s quite simply true that we will spend the time, some way, somehow. So if that time is going to pass anyway, I challenge you to set aside those things that have little to no benefit, and “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”. Once you’ve counted the cost and prepared yourself to seek the Lord, I am confident that you will find it was well worth the investment.