How to Guard Your Study Time

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2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 ESV 

“ALL SCRIPTURE IS BREATHED OUT BY GOD AND PROFITABLE FOR TEACHING, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, AND FOR TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE COMPETENT, EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK.”

It seems like yesterday I was in my college dorm bored out of my mind with nothing to do but play video games, eat, exercise, read, and whatever else I wanted to do. Well, those days are long gone. With a wife and three children under the age of 4, personal time is nothing more than a beautiful idea that doesn’t actually exist. Or so I thought.

I’ve always been big on studying the Bible and writing lessons/sermons based on what I read. No, I’m not a preacher, but my desire has always been to help others to grow in Christ. Whether it be a friendly conversation or teaching Sunday school, writing during my study helps me to articulate scriptures more clearly and teach in a way that is relatable to my audience. I’ve always believed that “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it.” So, writing not only prepares me to share my knowledge, but it also helps me to understand more thoroughly the meaning of the text.

Any who, about 6 months ago, I became extremely irritated that I did not have enough time in the day to study the Bible or write new lessons. When I got home from work, my wife wanted a break (she was a stay at home mom at the time). So, I would watch the kids while my wife would relax. Well, after settling into this routine, I noticed I had steadily started working less each day on my business and studying scripture. After simple tasks began to pile up, I did what any millennial would do, I Googled how to maximize the time in my day. The search results had some simple but effective suggestions such as: keep a bullet journal, work during lunch, conduct business meetings via text/email instead of on the phone, make phone calls during your commute (hands-free of course). But none of these seemed to be a permanent fix, they were simply a band-aid to my lack of time issue.

After about a month of trying the suggested band-aid solutions, I began searching YouTube. As I searched YouTube, I came across a video of 4 entrepreneurs who decided to wake up at 5 am everyday for 30 days. Then the lightbulb went off. Instead of going to bed at midnight and waking up an hour before work, why not create more structure to my day to maximize my time. So, the following week I began going to bed at 9 pm, and waking up at 5 am.

My schedule looked something like this:
5 am – wake up
5:15 am – workout
5:45 am – shower
6 am – breakfast + coffee + bible study
6:40 -7:20 am – entrepreneur tasks (Emails/calls/contracts/etc)
8-4 pm – work
5-8 pm – family time
8-9 pm – read a book
9 pm – bedtime

After just one week, I saw an 100% increase in productivity without sacrificing anything at all!

By going to bed early, I got the same amount of sleep even though I woke up earlier as well. By creating structure to my day, I became intentional about how I spent my time.

Of course with anything in life, there were challenges. Some nights there were church events we had to attend, or someone would visit and cause me to break my schedule. However, I knew the only way for me to keep moving forward, was to stick to the plan. Little by little I began declining invites to dinner that interfered with my schedule. I began cutting conversations short after church events or work to ensure I could stay on track.

After consistently repeating my schedule, others around me began learning and respecting my schedule as well. Friends began scheduling outings earlier in the day or on weekends, allowing me to be successful in the goals I set for myself. Now, before we get to far into this, let me say, by no means am I insinuating that I became a slave to this schedule, but it was simply a road map to my success. So, I never strayed too far from the roadmap (3 days in a row).

Okay, let’s bring this back full circle. Even though being productive is great, the most important thing about my new schedule was that I intentionally setting aside time to read God’s word and meditate on how to apply it to my life. ll Timothy chapter 3 verses 16-17 says (I’m paraphrasing) all scripture is breathed by God and ultimately equips us for every good work. So, how can we do good works for God if we do not know his word.
Studying the Bible should be like food. I don’t know about you, but I rarely miss a meal. In order for us to grow, we must find, set, and protect our time with God. Our desire, more than anything else, should be to learn what the scripture has to say about how we live. The only way we can grow is by eating God’s spiritual food that is scripture.

What can you do today to protect your time with God? What sacrifices can you make? It’s time to be intentional about your spiritual growth.

Andre Lee