06NewYearThe new year is well underway. If you’re like most people, you made a few resolutions. And if you’re like most people, you may have already broken a few of those.

One reason we often fail at resolutions and forming new habits is because our lives are maxed out – spouse, children, college, work, home repair, yard work, dinner, sports, dance class, Scouts, grocery shopping, family, vacation (who has time for that?), church, the list goes on and on. So how can we balance life and ministry? Here are three principles.

1. Determine to spend time with God daily.

In Mark 1:35, we find Jesus arising early, while it is still dark, to go pray. The night before was filled with activity and ministry. Why didn’t he just sleep in – bypass the early morning prayer time? Because spending time with God is a necessity. For Christians, this activity is vital. Yet, because it is something left unscheduled, we often skip it. Take a moment to set a time, set a location, and set a task – read the Bible, pray, meditate, etc.

2. Decide to do what is necessary daily.

My calendar is overflowing with things that “need” to be done. However, I often spend my time doing things that are unnecessary. Things like watching TV, scrolling through Facebook, playing Candy Crush and much more. Only a few things are necessary: food, sleep, exercise, work, family and devotional time with God.

In Mark 1:36-38, the disciples find Jesus praying, and they try to get him to go back to the village. The people were anxious to see more miracles, healings and exorcisms. But Jesus said, “No!” He knew what was necessary and what was not. In verse 38, he says, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby so that I can preach there also; for that is what I came for.” In short, Jesus determined what was necessary and chose not to do the rest.

You have 24 hours in your day – the same as me. What you accomplish in those 24 hours depends on the choices you make. If you choose to do the unnecessary tasks, then you will not accomplish the more important, necessary tasks. Need to spend more time with the family? Watch less TV. Want to pick up a new hobby? Stop wasting time on Twitter. Do you really want to read the Bible through this year? Then choose to spend time doing it.

3. Do what is necessary.

The Nike adage is still true today: Just do it! There’s a big difference in knowing what’s necessary and doing what’s necessary. After Jesus identifies the thing he came to do as preaching, the next verse shows him going into the synagogues preaching (Mark 1:39). It’s a matter of action. It’s a matter of just doing it.

So, whatever you’re seeking to accomplish in 2018, you can make a significant step toward achieving it with these three simple principles. If one of those goals is to learn to read and study your Bible better, then consider our tuition-free class, “How to Study the Bible.” We’d love to help you be a new you in this new year.

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