NYMany people spend more time planning for their holiday than they do planning their life. That’s a sobering thought. Over the next two weeks I’d like to lead you through a series of daily reflection exercises aimed at helping you to make next year your best year yet. After all, leading your own life is your responsibility and it is the key to you fulfilling God’s purpose for your life while here on planet earth. What could be more important?

All effective people know their priorities and then focus their energy on them. They know what is important and they keep “first things first” (Matt.6:33). It is essential that we use our time wisely in order to accomplish what God has called us to do. We need to ensure that urgent things don't keep us from doing what is really important.

Where are you heading? What's most important? What’s your priority? What are you aiming to accomplish? The issue is not whether next year will be busy or not, but what it will be busy with. Lots of activity does not always equal significant accomplishment.

Our lives are lived out in time and each person has the same amount of it every day. The truth is that we cannot manage time. We can only manage ourselves in relation to time. We cannot control how much time we have; we can only control how we use it. We cannot choose whether we spend it, but only how. Once we've used the time we’ve been given, it is gone – and it cannot be replaced.

Listen to what Paul had to say about our attitude towards life and time:

"Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." (Eph 5:15-17. NIV)

Essentially, Paul tells us that there are two types of people. There is the wise person who understands God’s will and purpose, makes the most of every opportunity and as a result uses their time wisely. In contrast, there is the foolish person who doesn’t understand God’s will, misses opportunities and therefore wastes their time. He urges us as believers to be like the wise person who takes full advantage of each occasion, time and season.

I pray that you will be like that wise person who uses their time well and that as a result you will live a joyful and fruitful life. 

Thoughts on Planning 

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” [Psalm 20:4. NIV]

“Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed.” [Prov. 16:3. NLT]

“Plans succeed through good counsel; don't go to war without the advice of others.” [Prov. 20:18. NLT]

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” [Prov.21:5. NLT]

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” [Jer. 29:11. NLT]

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will …” [Eph 1:11. NIV]

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

“Today’s actions determine tomorrow’s achievements.”

Part 2 coming after Christmas Day.