intentionality purpose

Quit Giving Yourself Away

10:02 AMHeather

We live in a world that beckons us to wear our busy schedules like badges of honor. The demands for our attention and time have never been greater. We are an over-committed culture that finds social status through our frenzied pace. However, God’s Word clearly states that this isn’t to be so. 

Image courtesy of Jose Martin, via Unsplash

I have sat with a group of fifth grade girls in my living room for a Bible study and listened to an echoed prayer request for “time management.”

Time management. For an eleven-year-old.

Our oldest son recently filled out a college application that required him to create a resume for submission. I fought against the inner voice that wanted to scream an explanation for why my teenager didn’t list activity after activity after activity. Deep within me, I felt the need to defend our choice to guard our calendars and his childhood carefully.

When it comes to the rhythm of an abundant life that God intends for us, we can look to the example of the early church.  The Bible is clear that abundance in our lives has nothing to do with an over-packed calendar.  

Paul tells us that “they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will,” (2 Corinthians 8:5, NIV). 

These early believers understood the priority of guarding how they gave away their time, energy, and focus in order to fulfill the will of God.

As Paul addressed the Corinthian church, he commends them for giving themselves FIRST to the Lord, and then only as was in accordance with his will. In other words, they were living out the command of Matthew 6:33, which tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given as well.” 

These Biblical instructions beg of us to do some serious self-evaluation when it comes to the pace with which we live. We are to take time to ask hard questions. 

Are you seeking his kingdom FIRST? Is time with God first in priority? Is God’s command for generosity and tithing upheld in your finances? Are you living in such a way that you can keep God first in your heart, thoughts, words, and actions? Is his will sought first when evaluating the time commitments and choices you make for yourself and your family?

Here is a truth to hold to for every one of us. Our Good Father has some instructions for us in how we live our lives. We are to quit giving ourselves away to culture, people, selfish desires, our own glory and fame, and the enemy’s lies. 

We need to identify the distractions that are stealing our attention and therein, also our lives. 

We must do some difficult soul searching. We must ask what is taking priority in our calendar, our pocket book, our thought life, and our very souls.

These distractions or places where we are giving ourselves away are actually idols. We cannot rationalize it away. When we give our time and attention to so many other things that God only gets the left-overs, we have an issue with idols. God clearly instructs us to deal with our idols and allow him to create an undivided heart within us. Like the Psalmist, we are to cry out, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name,” (Psalm 86:11).

This pursuit to give ourselves away to the Lord first is a lifelong wrestling match. It’s a day by day process. It’s something we must rise up every day and choose to battle, pressing ourselves toward faithfulness. 

And it starts with creating rhythms in our day to turn our focus to God first. 

This undivided pursuit of God demands a resolve to get back up every time we fall short. It demands that we keep going in the grace of God, learning to rest at our Savior’s feet, and coming back to him when we stray.

As busy people who are seeking to chase God, we will do well to consider what is consuming our time, attention, and energy because it dictates where we are actually giving ourselves away. God calls us to rest in his grace and cease our striving. 

His desire for us to sit long at his feet and give ourselves to him first, trusting him to handle the rest of our burdens and to order our days to his glory.

Amen and amen. Let’s learn to still ourselves and be intentional in how we use up the resource of this precious life that we’ve been given.

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