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Monday, August 11, 2008

Step By Step To Family Devotions - Maintain Priorities And Balance

photo by kamoteus

As the start of the school year approaches there will be an increase in activity and obligating circumstances for many of us. Church programs on summer hiatus will start back up, after-school activities will begin, and production at work increases as everyone returns from vacationing and the last quarter of the year looms ahead.

It may become all too tempting to put aside family devotions because, well, there just isn’t time for it now. Scheduling conflicts and fatigue from the pace we keep make sitting as a family and reading from God’s Word a bit tough.

There is an incredible cost to both your family and your personal relationship with God when you relegate Him to a back burner. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (John 14:23). God blesses obedience, not intent.

So how do we maintain godly priorities and balance among all our responsibilities without losing our family time devoted to God?

Keep up with the calendar. During hectic and cluttered times, the calendar should be your best friend. Insist everyone log activities and times on it and review it daily (first thing in the morning) to keep up with potential conflicts. Continue scheduling your family devotion time on the calendar as you have been.

Agree to be flexible, within reason. If you’re doing family devotions on Tuesdays and Thursdays and your son’s soccer practice falls on one of those days, move devotions to another day. However, if you find yourself constantly rescheduling devotions because of conflicts you need to either evaluate your busyness or perhaps look at a different timeframe for devotions (right before bedtime, maybe).

Say no sometimes. You don’t have to sign up for every committee, prayer group or Bible study that comes along, and your daughter doesn’t have to participate in every college-prep activity to make her a well-rounded candidate for schools she wants to apply to. That’s not saying to clear your slate of any outside activity, but recognize that the value of developing your child’s spiritual walk takes precedence over whether she wins a berth on the gymnastics team.

Determine kingdom significance. Similar to the point above, evaluate everything you do in relation to how it helps you and your child’s walk of faith. A child with obvious musical talent and passion who demonstrates God’s presence in her work is different from someone who gets signed up to take clarinet lessons because it would be “good for her” or because all her friends are doing it. Where does God fit into what you’re doing? Is He the focus, or is it the need to do this activity?

Pray for proper perspective and balance. This is an area I constantly struggle with and am having to take it to the Lord on a daily basis. Work is important, school is important, service to God is important, fellowship is important, but it all needs to work together and it all needs to be done to the glory of God. We have the Holy Spirit as Counselor. We need to talk to Him and let Him work in our lives.

Maintaining priorities isn’t so hard when you’re young, but the addition of responsibilities as we get older, and especially as we have children, places obstacles in our path to our obedience to God. Use this time before school starts to evaluate how you’re going to continue faithfully in holding family devotions in your home.
Homework: 1. Evaluate with your spouse how you will maintain continuity with your family devotion plan.
2. Continue praying, daily, for wisdom, discernment, strength and understanding as you hold devotions with your family.
3. Discuss concerns and ideas with your accountability family.
4. Continue in your Bible study.
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