Many of us see the tragedies in the world, feel very discontented by them, and idly hoped that “someone would do something.” I certainly have had those moment myself, times where I vaguely wished for God’s help in the world, but at the same time was not actively making Him a part of my life.
Even then, I knew in my heart that God’s help is enacted through the people that strive to walk with Him. Therefore by not making Him a part of my life, I was actively disqualifying myself from being one of the instruments that I knew the world needed.
So maybe I don’t know how to cure all of the world’s problems. Maybe some of them I can’t do anything about. But I do know that there is some impact for good that I can do, and the only way to do it is if I am actively making time for God. This study helped me to explore why this is easier said than done, though, and what strategies we can employ to counter those obstacles.
Making Time for God is Just Hard
The most frustrating thing about not putting God first is that we feel like it should be an easy thing for us to do. We think that giving Him daily devotion and training our thoughts to be pure should simply be a matter of dedicating a few minutes to him and exercising some mindfulness. When we fail to achieve this, we start to think that there’s something wrong with us.
The simple, and hopefully encouraging, truth is that making time for God is not easy, and there is nothing wrong with us when we struggle to do it. We all live in a fallen world, one that is intent on crowding out things of a spiritual nature. The distractions of life are expertly subtle, cloaked so innocently that we don’t give them a second thought, and then they silently leech our time and energy from God.
Any opening in our lives is a vacuum that will be filled. In my own life I’ve noticed how I always seem to be subscribed to just enough YouTube channels to fill up all my available time. If ever I try to cut back, something instantly springs up to take its place. Something little, something innocuous, but something that isn’t God.
1 Corinthians 2:14- But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
We Are In Our Own Way
The problem with that “natural man” is that, well, it is natural. It is inside all of us without exception. There is a craving for the worldly distractions that each one of us is born with. It might manifest with different tastes, but each of those tastes can be easily indulged on this earth. Do you prefer lust? Do you desire recognition? Do you want a thrill? Gossip? Idle entertainment? Meaningless achievements? A never-ending chase for something new? It’s all here, take your fill, the supply will never run out!
In the end our problem doesn’t begin with the pornography or television shows or workaholic mentality. It’s that we don’t know how to just say “No!” to these things. We do not know how to master our selves, to meet our needs in healthy ways, to steer ourselves to something better.
We can’t make time for God because we can’t keep our own promises to ourselves. We can’t escape our sins and vanities because we don’t have the nerve to live without them.
1 Corinthians 3:3- For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Mosiah 3:19- For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.
Putting God First Requires an Entirely New Us
And now we get to the bottom of it. This is why putting God first is so hard: because it requires a totally new version of ourselves, one where our spiritual self has defeat the carnal. But how can our spiritual self be powerful enough to defeat the carnal, except for by us having already putting God first in our lives?
It is a conundrum that is beyond us, a paradox that would halt us all, were a Savior not to intervene. We cannot lift ourselves by our own bootstraps…but he can lift us. He can pull us out of the water, because he alone can stand unsinking upon it.
Making time for God and becoming someone new are able to happen in one and the same moment with Christ’s help. Yes, at the start we lack the necessary self-mastery, but he will give us of his own. He asks us to choose one way that we can make God more a part of our lives, and if we sincerely try, then he will make up the difference and we can hold that change. And then another after that and another. The further we go, the less of a void he has to fill within us, the more we have been remade as him.
Making time for God isn’t just the first step along the way towards perfection, it is the entire journey.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.