Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Robert J. Morgan's new book Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late: 10 Biblical Strategies for a Lifetime of Purpose (Howard Books, 2015).
God has planned for you to fulfill important purposes during your lifetime, and you don’t know how long you have to do so. Each new day is a valuable opportunity from God to do more of the work he has uniquely called you to do in his kingdom.
Too many people waste precious time and energy on pursuits that don’t reflect God’s values and don’t really matter from an eternal perspective. Starting now, you can make sure that you’re as productive as possible, so you can leave the kind of legacy God intends.
Here are 10 strategies to maximize your productivity in God’s kingdom:
Be about your Heavenly Father's business. Devote yourself to using your time and energy in the best way possible: pursuing God’s purposes for your life. Respond to God’s love for you by expressing your love for him, committing to faithfully being as productive as possible every day of your life from now on. Live in one-day segments of faithful obedience, doing the best you can each new day to do whatever you sense God calling you to do during that time. Then renew your commitment to serve God when you wake up to another fresh day.
Redeem your time. Manage your time well, keeping in mind that time is your most valuable resource. Once a moment is gone, it’s gone forever, so avoid time wasters such as misdirection (doing the wrong things), laziness (being overcome by lethargy), and entertainment (being addicted to diversions). Seek to wisely use every moment that God gives you to help accomplish God’s redemptive purposes in some way. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom you need to do so. Trust that there will always be enough work for the days God has given you, and exactly enough days for the work he has assigned. Use your time for what matters most from an eternal perspective, because ultimately, only what you do for God will last. Activities that are truly important include: praying, studying the Bible, reading, thinking, building closer relationships with friends and family, taking care of your health (such as by eating well, exercising, and resting), and working on the major projects that will establish the legacy God is leading you to leave on Earth. Use the small fragments of free time that come to you throughout each day to be productive in some way: from saying a prayer or writing a thank-you note to filing some papers or washing some dishes.
Organize your life. God is organized, and he built the concept of organization into the fabric of creation. As someone made in God’s image, you should also be organized. Don’t settle for the chaos and confusion of a disorganized life. Pray for the help you need to organize every aspect of your life, such as your finances, car, home, and desk at work. Declutter your living spaces, find a place for everything, and put everything in its place going forward. Make lists to help you remember whatever is weighing on your mind: thoughts, ideas, tasks, obligations, etc. At the end of each day, ask yourself how much of your day was spent reacting to random events as they occurred rather than pressing ahead with an intentional agenda. Try to be purposeful in every situation you encounter.
Maximize your morning. Use your each new morning that God gives you well; if you do, you can be productive throughout the day. If your schedule allows even just 15 minutes to spend with God for morning devotions regularly, meet with your Creator for that daily appointment. Use the time for reading the Bible, praying, and planning your day according to how God leads you through his Spirit. Invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind during your morning devotions so you can approach the rest of your day from the right perspective.
Get the rest you need. Guard against physical breakdowns and emotional burnout by getting enough rest every day and night. Incorporate time for solitude, silent reflection, and sleep into your schedule. Take a weekly Sabbath day off of work, and enjoy vacations as well. Free yourself up to focus your time and energy on the tasks that only you alone can do by delegating other tasks to other people and letting go of unnecessary tasks.
Operate on yourself. Whenever you’re battling infected thoughts or inflamed passions, operate on yourself by asking Jesus, the Great Physician, to heal your soul as you remind yourself of his truths in the Bible. Perform soul surgery whenever God leads you to, such as correcting a bad habit, steering away from a negative direction, or recovering from a potential mistake.
Live "as if." Act by faith even when your emotions aren’t ready. If you choose to do what’s right even when you don’t feel like doing so, your emotions will eventually catch up with your actions. So choose positive attitudes and productive behaviors every day no matter what, and after a while, you’ll find yourself naturally wanting to think positively and act productively.
Experience biblical joy. Pursue the “joy of the Lord” that transcends any kind of circumstances because it’s based on God’s complete and unconditional love for you, which never changes. Rejoice in the reality of that deep and reliable love that’s always available to strengthen you as you aim to live productively.
Practice the power of persistence. By being productive in life’s small increments persistently over time, you can accomplish major tasks and achieve significant results in God’s kingdom. So do your work one task at a time, not discounting small tasks while trusting that God will eventually accomplish something big through your efforts.
Rely on the Holy Spirit living inside you to achieve significance. Keep in mind that successfully fulfilling God’s significant purposes for your life isn’t about what you’re doing for God, but instead it’s about what God is doing through you. Stay closely connected to Jesus, and when you do, the Holy Spirit will work through you to make you productive and bring about significant results from your efforts.
Adapted from Mastering Life Before It's Too Late: 10 Biblical Strategies for a Lifetime of Purpose, copyright 2015 by Robert J. Morgan. Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, NY, http://imprints.simonandschuster.biz/howard.
Robert J. Morgan is the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for 35 years. He has authored more than 20 books, including The Lord is My Shepherd, The Red Sea Rules, and Then Sings My Soul. He conducts Bible conferences, motivational meetings, and leadership seminars across the United States. He and his wife, Katrina, live in Nashville. Visit him online at http://www.robertjmorgan.com/.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, produces a site about angels and miraclesfor About.com. She is author of the inspirational novel Dream Factory(which is set during Hollywood's golden age) and writes about the power of thoughts on her “Renewing Your Mind” blog.
Publication date: December 23, 2014