Benjamin Franklin said, “Lost time, can never be found again.” For me, this time of year always causes me to “take inventory” of my life. When I look back on this year and think about how I spent my time, I’m happy to report some successes and if I’m honest I would have to report some time lost as well. For the last several years I have “resolved” to do better in this area as far as my time spent with God. I have learned some things that have helped me to be more consistent and effective in my personal devotions. Here are three helpful tips to spend more time with God in 2020.
1. Have a set time:
Do you struggle with being consistent in your devotion time? I would be willing to bet that you don’t have a specific time set aside to spend with God. Once the day get’s started it’s hard to stop what we are doing and just be still. We know we need daily time with God but our flesh will fight against it every second of the day. This is one reason why having your devotions first thing in the morning can be helpful. If you have good intentions to do your devotions but it’s just not getting done, consider doing them first thing. A super easy way to start this habit is to leave your Bible on your night stand and set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier.
If not first thing, then consider a time of the day when things slow down (if you have one). Possibly right after you drop the kids off from school you could spend a few minutes in the school parking lot. Maybe you get a 15 minute break at work and there is a quiet place you can spend with God. Whatever time you choose, be consistant and make it a priority.
2. Stay connected:
Make your daily devotion time a priority…but don’t stop there! Jesus wants us to abide with him all day long (John 15). Devotion time isn’t a time to check off our list and go on with our day. It is a way to get plugged in to God and stay connected through out the day. It’s a start to a holy conversation that we can return to again and again all day long. Here are a couple of practical ways you can keep your devotion time going all day long.
Use your drive time. Your drive time might be a little bit different than mine, so how we all use this time will vary. If you have a long drive time, this would be great time to listen to a Christian podcast or sermon. If you have kids in the car and can’t give that much of your focus, listen to worship music and sing the songs to the Lord with your children. This past year I had a lot of drive time by myself, so I made it a habit to use that time to pray and worship.
Have a focus verse or chapter. You can take one verse from your morning devotion time and choose to focus on it and apply it through out the day. Write it down and take it with you, or take a screen shot of it to meditate on when you have some down time. Similarly you can have a focus chapter. Right now my focus chapter is Romans chapter 8. If I have to wait for an appointment, I will take some time to read through part or all of this chapter. Consider getting rid of all social media on your phone and instead of passing the time with facebook, strengthen your soul with the Good Book.
3. Set up accountability:
There are several ways you can do this but for sure this starts with being plugged in to your church and your life group. Find and build relationships with other Christians who prioritize their time with God. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says that the church should encourage each other and build each other up. Part of the function of the church is to rely on each other and keep each other accountable.
Let me give you an example of this from my life. This past year I had a period of time where I just could not seem to get back into my daily devotion time. I kept trying to do it in my own strength but eventually realized I needed some help. I told my good friend from church that I was going to text her each day for a week what I am doing for my devotions. That way I would have some one to answer to until it became a habit again. This worked great to get me back on track and also sparked some conversation with my friend about what we were studying.
If you are already involved in an accountability group at your church there is a very helpful app your group can use called Habitshare. A friend in my group suggested we use it and it has helped me to be more regular with my devotions at a time of year when I usually slack off. Here is how it works. Everyone in your group can sign up individually and set goals. Then each time someone does their devotions it will pop up on your phone to see. It’s a great reminder and encouragment for me to stop what I’m doing and spend time with God. If someone in your group does not check in for a few days you can contact them to see how they are doing.
My prayer for me and for you is that we spend more time than ever with our Savior in 2020. I hope you found these three tips to spend more time with God in the new year helpful. Prioritize your time with Christ, keep that connection throughout the day and set up an accountability plan to stay on track. It’s a daily battle with our flesh but it is a war worth fighting (Ephesians 6:10-20). Don’t give up!