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A major contributor, or tool, to planning a successful time-management strategy is something I call "selectivity."

Do you remember the Bible's description of Martha doing a lot of good things that nevertheless prevented her from receiving from Jesus? She did so many good things that she didn't have time to sit at His feet to experience His presence or receive the direction He would bring.

Martha needed to be more selective. Had she employed the principle of selectivity, then she would have made some good choices like Mary did and would have been seated at Jesus' feet alongside Mary, enjoying the presence of God.

Every day of your life you're going to have the opportunity to do a lot of good things, maybe even needful things. But if you don't cultivate the habit of selectivity - being selective in the planning phase of your day - you'll never have enough hours to do everything you want to do. Your life will become so complicated, you won't even want to get up in the morning!

Philippians 1:10 puts it this way: "That ye may approve things that are excellent." I also like The Amplified Bible's rendering of this scripture. It says, "So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best]."

God tells us we must be discriminating and selective in choosing how to spend our time. We must incorporate that into the planning phase of our time-management strategy. We simply can't do everything. Our lives would be a mess if we tried.

We could do a lot of good things with our time and still live a complicated life, so, we must choose the most important things.

We need to be aware of the scriptural priorities God outlines in His Word. There are some things that God plainly tells us are more important than others. For example, our relationship with Him is to be paramount. Everything about our lives hinge on our fellowship with God.

Sadly, spending time with God is usually the first thing most people cut when their days begin to get complicated. They either completely cut out their time with God, or they cut it down to an insignificant fragment of time. It's no wonder people suffer from overly complicated lives.

Remember, the time we spend with God in prayer, in the Word, and in worshiping Him is different from meditating. There is a time to meditate, arrange the facts of our day, pray in the Holy Spirit, and allow the Spirit of understanding to help us organize our day. But our first priority is to commune with the Lord.

Next to God, our highest priority is our spouse. If you're married, you'll need to dedicate meaningful time to your wife or husband in the process of selectivity, or you'll have problems. You can't neglect your spouse and expect to lead a simplified life. It just won't happen.

The next priority in the process of selectivity is your children.

Be selective about time spent with your husband or wife, then your children, and then your ministry. Put your family before your ministry and involvement with the church. After attending to these responsibilities, give time to your vocation and lastly to your recreation time.

Although recreation is last on the list of priorities, that doesn't mean it's not important. God wants us to plan recreation time. That's the will of God for us, because He doesn't want us to become old, dry, boring nobodies. He wants us to enjoy life. God has given us all things richly to enjoy, but if we don't schedule recreational events in our day or week, we'll never enjoy them. As a result, we'll risk burnout.

We don't need to be dogmatic about scheduling our time. Just remember to use some commonsense knowledge, follow these basic steps, and God will honor your efforts. He'll be faithful to help you redeem the time.

Source: Simplify Your Life by Mac Hammond.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
Mac Hammond is the senior pastor of Living Word, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area on KMSP Channel 9 at 6:44 a.m. and 11:11 a.m. He is also the host of the Winner's Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.

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