The Power of Priority: How Putting God First in Your Schedule Will Transform You and Your Family

Today I welcome a couple whose heart is to help parents raise children who seek after Christ. Author and artist Ruth Chou Simons and her husband Troy Simons have taken seriously God’s call to impress His commandments upon their six sons. From their oldest child’s earliest days, they’ve witnessed how important it is to place Christ at the center of their family. They’ve been blessed with the opportunity to expand that mission and guide other parents to do the sacred work of building families upon God’s truth. It is a grace to welcome my dear friends Ruth and Troy to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Ruth Chou Simons

I remember when our boys were young and one of them was a horrible sleeper for a season, meaning we were up with him several times a night.

One morning, flustered and angry over the exhaustion I felt, and excusing myself from any form of discipline or accountability, I looked over and saw Troy getting out of bed to spend time in the Word.

I asked, “How can you afford to get up and read your Bible? I’m so exhausted and fed up with the lack of sleep!”

Troy gently (and without conveying shame or guilt) confessed: “Babe, honestly, I’m not sure if I can afford not to.”

To this day, every morning Troy gets up before the sun rises to “get his heart happy in the Lord” (a phrase from his favorite George Mueller quote).

And the happiness must be contagious because each of our boys eventually trickles downstairs to join him, starting with our oldest man cub.

They start every morning in an embrace, and when I catch it out of the corner of my eye, I get a glimpse of what it’s like when we meet with the Lord each day.

We meet with Him, go to the Word, linger in its pages, and pour out our hearts to God in praise and pleading.

It’s not to merely be more knowledgeable, have more tools, be more literate, or do our duty.

Those can’t be our only motivation; instead, we meet to enter into our Father’s embrace of intimacy, freedom, trust, and character—all of which we can’t know apart from knowing Him and spending time with Him in His Word.

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Jen Wilkin says it this way in Women of the Word:

For years I viewed my interaction with the Bible as a debit account: I had a need, so I went to the Bible to withdraw an answer. But we do much better to view our interaction with the Bible as a savings account: I stretch my understanding daily, I deposit what I glean, and I patiently wait for it to accumulate in value, knowing that one day I will need to draw on it.

Relationship will always be a greater motivator than ritual. Relationship is a long-term investment.

If you’re looking to be more consistent in your Bible time, if you desire for your children to develop a love for God’s Word, remind yourself that the Bible is a love letter and a hearty meal at your Father’s table.

God is already there, waiting for you with arms wide open.

We need to come, enjoy the feast and, as parents, show our kids by example where the feasting begins and why He is worthy.

But there’s also the matter of the physical time it takes. When is the right time to be in the Word? Where do we find it? Certainly no formula, timeframe, or exact method will ensure the spiritual nourishment you need.

Troy loves mornings; I don’t. But both of us must eat.

Spending time meeting with God and studying His Word may seem natural, easy, and enjoyable for “godly people,” but the truth is, it takes work and an investment of time for everyone. Most things we want in life do…

It takes time to mine the depths of your child’s heart.

It takes time to confess, repent, and forgive within marriage.

It takes time to listen to the answers to the questions you ask.

It takes time to put as much into a relationship as you want to receive.

It takes time to not just talk about feasting in the Word but to actually do it.

“It takes time” doesn’t necessarily mean that change comes slowly (though it may!)—it means that things that matter require a sacrifice of time.

Time that you sometimes can’t find. Time that seems to slip away. Time that’s occupied by the must-dos of life.

But if your life is like mine, you can’t afford not to make time to be in the Word. Deep relationships, maturity, growth, a disciplined life… these things do not just happen.

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@elizabethwellsphoto

The reality is that we demonstrate what is important to us by what we make time for.

If I want real conversations with my kids, I have to make time.

If I want my husband to know my heart, I must prioritize time to make it accessible.

If I want to know my Savior more deeply, I must sow seeds of time in His Word.

The only time I have to spend is the time that is still to come.

I can’t reassign past moments or reprioritize yesterday’s minutes.

But I can choose what I will value today by how I spend my time.

Before the choices are made for me. Before time slips away. Before it’s diced and spliced and found insufficient.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Perhaps you, too, are taking inventory of what you value most… knowing it’s about time.

 

Bestselling author, artist, and entrepreneur Ruth Chou Simons has written and painted the artwork for several books encouraging women to dive deeper in their walk with the Lord. She and her husband Troy Simons work together to run GraceLaced, an art and lifestyle brand that exists to adorn the gospel through collectible, meaningful, and truth-filled products.

Most recently Ruth and Troy have worked together to create Foundations, a 12-week family journey through some of the key truths about God’s character. Drawing from their experience raising their six boys and Troy’s background in full-time pastoral ministry, Foundations invites parents to embrace the holy work of training their children to know and love God for a lifetime. It will help you direct your family one day at a time, as you explore 12 key truths that will help connect your children’s hearts—and yours—to the heart of God.

With a simple, chapter-a-day format that includes Scripture, devotional thoughts, meditations, and discussion questions, this book will guide you in leading your family. I cannot recommend highly enough.  

[ Our humble thanks to Harvest House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]