7 Ways To Take Control Of Your Life

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Time is the currency of your life. . .spend it wisely.

Here is a simple illustration I’ve used several times to prove your time is the currency of your life.

After you work forty hours for your employer, he doesn’t pay you out of the goodness of his heart. He pays you in exchange for the forty hours of your life.

In other words, the amount of money you receive in your paycheck replaces the amount of your life you gave to your employer.

Think of it this way. You don’t purchase an automobile with little slips of paper called “money.” No, you actually buy it with your life – that is, the amount of your life you spend earning the money to pay for your automobile. The same thing is true with your house, your clothing, and everything else you purchase. It all comes through the exchange of your life for money.

When you fully understand that your money represents your life, offering time will become more significant to you. It will no longer be the collection of the little slips of paper called “money.” It will be a time when you, as a child of God, lay down your life in the form of money, so the world can know that Jesus is the Christ, their Savior.

Money is a spiritual subject. Each time you place your tithe and offering into God’s work, you are literally giving a portion of your life to God. Your life, in the form of money, has the ability to accomplish more for God than you ever thought possible.

Let me also share that we worship God with our giving.

Psalm 96:8 says:

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.”

As I was typing this verse I remembered hearing someone say that the offering was our praise.  Again, that sounds nice. . .even spiritual. . .but it’s not scriptural either.

The word offering is the Hebrew word minchah(H4503) and according to Strong’s Concordance it means:

“gift, tribute, offering, present, oblation, sacrifice, meat offering.”

The word offering is used 211 times in 194 verses in the Hebrew Concordance of the King James Version of the Bible and it is never translated as the word praise.

So it’s very clear that our worship of the Lord is much more than the praise on our lips and in our hearts. . .it’s also what we bring to him in our hands.

Jim Rohn, the motivational speaker and author, said:

“Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it."

If there’s one thing. . .we shouldn’t waste. . .it’s time.

Benjamin Franklin said:

"Lost time is never found again."

Let’s see…if you waste 15 minutes a day…seven days a week equals 451 minutes or 11.4 eight hour days a month or more than two work weeks.

Proverbs 10:27 in The Living Bible says:

“Reverence for God adds hours to each day…”

What you do with that time. . .is your decision.

You decide. . .not somebody else. . .not the passing of time on a clock. . .you decide what you will do with the every minute of every day that God has given to you. 

Colossians 4:5 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Behave yourselves wisely (living prudently and with discretion) in your relations with those of the outside world… making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity.”

I’m going to give you a number of practical keys but remember your life or the time that represents your life requires many facets: sleep, healthy eating, time with the Lord, time of relaxing as well as making the most of your job.

Here are seven keys. . .to take control of your life or the time which is your life.

First, be a first responder.

I’m not suggesting you become a member of the police, fire and/or rescue squads in your community.

I am, however, strongly recommending that you read and respond to your emails and snail mail the first time you look at them. . .or don’t read them until you have time to answer.

Truthfully, this kind of first response is a continual challenge for me. . .but I’m working on it.

Luke 9:62 in the Message Bible says:

“Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”

When it comes to mail of all types. . .if you don’t have time to read it and properly respond. . .put it to the side until you have sufficient time to complete the task.

Effective stewardship isn’t just about money . . .it also represents all the qualities that make up your life.

Psalm 90:12 in the Contemporary English Version says: 

“Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.”

Second, use the alarms and timers on your phone to set aside a certain period of time for specific functions.

Psalm 90:12 in the King James Version says:

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

The word number is the Hebrew word manah (H4487) in the Strong’s Concordance and it means:

 “to count, reckon, assign, tell, appoint, prepare.”

I think it’s significant that the definition of number includes the words “assign,” “appoint” and “prepare.”

It’s clear that ‘to number our days’ means more than just counting them on a calendar.

We are to assign tomorrow’s activities tonight by planning to fulfill specific functions at certain times.

Before you pillow your head at night or before beginning the activities of a new day, assign an objective to your day.

We’re to appoint our days . . . give each day a special purpose.  Don’t just allow it to happen without your involvement in what’s happening in it.

We’re to prepare our days.

Alan Larkin, noted time management expert, once said:

“Planning is bringing the future into the present, so you can do something about it now.”

I want you to get this next statement down in our spirit . . . in fact, you might even repeat it several times until it’s indelibly impressed in your memory.

A failure to plan is a plan to fail. 

For instance, if you want to write a book. . .plan a specific time each day that you can work on your project.  Follow this schedule for at least 21 days and it will become a habit.

Set a timer on your phone for the specified time until it becomes a part of your daily routine. It may take a little time to get used to it…but once you do, you’ll be thankful you started.

Third, limit your phone conversations, texting and chats to a specific amount of time.  You decide a time frame that works for you.

I rarely chat with friends. . .because sometimes it opens the door to unwanted intrusions into my time and takes time away from fulfilling my plan for the day.

This is especially true on Facebook.  If I sign on the chat. . .I’m immediately inundated with chat requests from people I don’t know personally. . .wanting to establish a line of communication which would significantly reduce the time I need to finish a day’s business.

Bottom line, if I want to chat with you. . .I’m going to call you on the phone.  I often call people when I feel the Holy Spirit nudging me to do so.

There are people. . .well-meaning people. . .who will spend all the time you give them in phone conversations, texting and chats.  That’s why it’s important you set the boundaries. . .so that everything can be done properly and in order.

1 Corinthians 14:40 in the New Living Translation says:

“But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.”

Fourth, don’t waste time on idle gossip or meaningless conversations.

Let me give you an example. . .Major League Baseball started its new season this week.

If you discuss yesterday’s game with a co-worker or a friend on the phone. . .how much time do you spend on the highs and lows of the game.

The Major League season is 162 games plus a minimum of fourteen more games in the playoffs and World Series. . .which totals 176 plus games. . .nearly a half year.

If you were to spend 10 minutes talking about each game. . .that would total 1760 minutes or almost thirty hours of time.  Now that may not seem significant but consider this a recent survey revealed that the average parent only spends less than19 minutes a day in one on one time with their children.  Which conversation is more important? Think in terms of priorities.

Yes, you can talk about sports or whatever interest you have … but keep it within the perimeters you set for yourself.  If it’s part of your leisure and relaxation time with your sports-minded son, that’s time well spent.  If it’s on the job, not so much.

Less I get bogged down. . .why spend your time talking about things unless it improves the quality of life for you or those you love.

I’ve often quoted Bill Swad who once said:

“Great minds talk about ideas.  Average minds talk about events and small minds talk about people.”

Your conversation. . .the ones you direct or allow to happen around you will reveal what kind of mind you have.

When it comes to gossiping. . . there are two scriptures I feel led to share with you.

2 Thessalonians 3:11 in The Living Bible says:

“Yet we hear that some of you are living in laziness, refusing to work, and wasting your time in gossiping.”

Psalm 15:2-4 in The Living Bible says:

“Anyone who leads a blameless life and is truly sincere.  Anyone who refuses to slander others, does not listen to gossip, never harms his neighbor, speaks out against sin, criticizes those committing it, commends the faithful followers of the Lord, keeps a promise even if it ruins him.”

Fifth, determine how much time you will spend watching TV and surfing the net.  Bev and I record the TV programs we want to watch.  We restrict the number and fast forward through the commercials.

The internet will take all the time you give it. . .so I encourage you to create time boundaries.

The average person spends 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on Facebook. . .that’s up from 6.9 hours just two years ago.  Bear in mind, these are just the averages. . .which means it’s significantly higher for some folks.

The average person spends 59.4 hours per month watching regular TV and 23.1 hours watching TV online.  That’s a total of 82.5 hours per month or 19 hours per week or nearly 3 hours per day.

The amount of time watching conventional TV has gone from 4 hours a day to down to 3 but the dramatic increase in time spent on social media more than offsets the time available for other purposes.

Our world is filled with distractions. . .everything from texting to email on your smart phone.  Web surfing on your tablet or iPad.  Entertainment has gone beyond regular TV and cable. . .to the streaming services on the web. . .like NetFlix, Hulu and Amazon just to name a few.

Focus can easily be broken by a vast array of choices.  If we want to be in control of our lives. . .then we must control what we focus on and what we allow to distract us.

Hebrews 12 of the Message Bible.

“We’d better get on with it. . .keep your eyes on Jesus. . .Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed.”

Sixth, give and expect punctuality on your appointments.

If someone is habitually late on their appointments. . .then they don’t value your time. 

A couple of years ago, a young evangelist who knew that I had worked as a consultant to ministries asked about my fee to advise him about the growth of his ministry.

Frankly, I told him that he couldn’t afford me.  Because of my commitments with the Debt Free Army my fee was $2,500 per day.  However, I told the young man I would sow an hour of my life. . .into meeting with him.

On the day of our meeting. . .he called me 10 minutes after his scheduled appointment to tell me he’d be there in 15 minutes because his luncheon with a pastor ran long.

That day. . .I gave him a full hour of my time in addition to subsequently writing a couple of things for him after the meeting at no charge.

A couple of weeks later, I agreed to sow another hour into his life.  The same thing happened as before but this time he called 20 minutes and his scheduled meeting to advise me he’d be at our offices in 10 minutes.  By the way, once again, he was running late because of a meeting with a pastor.

I gave him the remaining 30 minutes but also explained to him that being late for an appointment was a sign of disrespect.  He thanked me for my advice on punctuality and for his ministry and promised he’d be punctual next time.

Two weeks later, he didn’t show or call to cancel his scheduled appointment.

The next day he called to tell me he’d been given an opportunity to speak and he forgot to cancel the appointment.  He wanted to reschedule his appointment and I told him I was busy on the requested date.  He suggested another day and I told him the time wasn’t available.  A third time, he suggested a day and I told him my schedule wouldn’t allow it.

Then he asked if I could suggest a day and I told him no.  I went on to explain that my time didn’t seem valuable to him. . .which was an insult to me and that while I would continue to pray for his ministry. . .I would not be sowing any further time into his life.

To some that might seem harsh. . .but it was a lesson this young man needed to learn. 

And for the record, I’ve sown countless hours without charge to counseling ministers of all ages on how to increase their effectiveness and outreach.

I’ve shared this story because we need to understand the value of our time. . .which is our lives. 

If you schedule a meeting don’t be on time. . .be ahead of time.

Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, kept his watch set five minutes ahead. . .so that he would always early for appointments.  I suggest that each of you. . .operate on Lombardi time.

Seventh, when it comes to your dreams and goals. . .create specific timelines so you will know when you need to do what. . .to ensure you achieve the success you desire.

Each night before you go to bed I want you to write down what you’ve done during the do to fulfill your dream and achieve your goals.

1 Timothy 4:15 in the New International Version says:

“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”         

Here are seven keys to establishing a proper timeline.

First, Develop a plan with reasonable and flexible timelines.

Second, implement your timeline now. . .no delays. 

Third, review your timeline to determine if you’ve selected the easiest way to accomplish your objective.

Fourth, announce your timeline publicly. 

Fifth, use your timelines as incentives

Sixth, achieve or refocus your timelines

Seventh, recognize how stress is reduced with each timeline accomplished.

Create a timeline for all of your goals.

In the next twenty-four hours. . .you will be given a precious gift. . .not money, gold, silver or real estate. . .but something far more valuable. . .you will be the recipient of 86,400 seconds. . .or another day of life.

The only restriction to each day that we’re given is that we must spend, invest or use every minute.  There is no roll-over benefit to time.  Simply said, use each day wisely before midnight or it’s gone forever.

It’s “time” to determine who’s in control of your life. Either you will manage your time, or it will manage to control you.

Let me close with the words of Romans 13:11-14 in the Message Bible which says:

“But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!”

I feel impressed to share one last scripture with you.

Hebrews 3:19 in the Message Bible says:

“They never got there because they never listened, never believed.”

That doesn’t have to be you.  Use your time wisely.