The Main Thing

The concept of a new year brings a sense of freshness to most of us. We stand on the brink of a year, and if we’re not jaded by past failures, we might even make some resolutions or set some new goals. We may have failed in the past, but it’s January 1, and we can give it another try. Sure, we said we’d lose 20 pounds last year, and we didn’t (in fact, we added five), but this can be “the year.” We said we’d take up oil painting and develop the creative side of our life, and we didn’t. But we will this year because we still have the brushes, the paints, the easel, the subscription to the magazine and the correspondence course, and we’ll do it in 2004.
 
I wrote this article in the last days of December. You’ll read it around early April. I would guess by the time you’re reading this, your new year’s resolutions will, for the most part, be a thing of the past, and you’ll be back in the normal mode. I say that about you because it will probably be true about me.

However, I’d like to help us focus on an activity that should become routine for us, not just an idealistic resolution for the new year.

Business consultants often tell their clients, “Decide what is the main thing — what really matters most in the success of your business — and do it.” Of course, that’s much easier to say than it is to do. That’s why many consultants leave with a lighter load after saying that than the client who hears it!
I’d like us to consider a “main thing” that is more than an activity or a goal, but a lifetime commitment with eternal consequences. Our most important relationship for now and eternity is our relationship with the Lord. That’s the main thing. If we had to pick the main thing in this ongoing relationship, what would it be? Although there are other activities that could be paramount, the main thing in our relationship with the Lord is a daily quiet time.

Why is that the main thing? A few reasons:
  • By making a regular time each day to spend with Christ, we acknowledge what is really important. We, by our lives, are saying, “I need Jesus. I need Him to guide me. I need Him to comfort me. I need Him to correct me. I need Him to live through me. And I’m going to start and/or end my day with Him in a very intentional way.”

  • By making a regular time each day to spend with Christ in the Word, we are acknowledging what Paul wrote to Timothy: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). I know I need to be taught. There are times (more often than I would like to admit) when I need to be rebuked and corrected. And, even at my age, I’m still in dire need of regular training. The Word does that, and part of a daily quiet time is being in the Word.

  • By making a regular time each day to spend with Christ in prayer, we are centering and focusing on the truth of what He says and not on the lies we hear from other cultural voices. Paul, writing to believers in Philippians 4:6-7, said this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Praying, in essence, casts our cares on the Lord and keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Isn’t that the way we want to live?
So let’s do the main thing that is crucial to the Main Thing — our relationship with Christ. Let’s resolve, regardless of what day it is in the calendar year, to begin engaging in a daily quiet time. Let’s find a quiet place at a regular time that we’ve made the top priority in our schedule. Let’s bring our Bible, a notebook and perhaps a prayer list, and let’s spend time with Him. It’s the main thing.
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