“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10
Since it’s December, I’ve carved out some time today to practice a new habit that has had a dramatic impact on my health and my entire life, and I want to share it with you. It’s the principle of ‘firstfruits’ but it has nothing to do with money (or agriculture).
In the Bible, firstfruits applied to a principle of offering the first portion of a harvest. In Leviticus 23:9-14, the people were to bring a sheaf of grain to the priest who would present it as a wave offering to the Lord. It was seen as a time of thanksgiving for God’s provision of a harvest.
I believe in applying the principle of firstfruits to the start of each month. The biblical principle of firstfruits means to apply the first of everything to the Lord believing that it will set a standard for everything that precedes it.
I’m also learning to apply it to the first of each year, the first of each quarter (January, April, July, and October), the first day of each week (Sunday), and my first few minutes of waking up each day.
The purpose of dedicating the first day of each month to the Lord, is to pause, reflect, and re-prioritize–to remind myself that God is the centre of my life, and to remind myself that all success will come through relying on Him. I spend time during the day to take stock of the goals that I’ve set and see how close I’ve come, or how far I’ve strayed, and then re-focus.
I also use this time to set a goal that I can achieve in the next month with the Lord’s help. I just learned a new principle from Dave Ramsey about setting goals.
Instead of setting a goal such as, “I want to lose 5 pounds but December 31st”, ask yourself this question. “What can I do that makes me smile?” Can you see how this would completely change the way you would think about your weight loss goals?
- Instead of stressing about what you can’t eat, you would focus on how you would feel when you are healthier.
- Instead of stressing about how you need to get to the gym, you might imagine a nice refreshing hike, or the increased energy you have now that you’re so much healthier.
In other words, focus on the benefits of getting healthier and not on the pain and displeasure of forcing yourself to do something you don’t really want to do.
I encourage you to take some time today to reflect on the last 30 days of this year. How can you dedicate this day to the Lord. What can you do for the next 30 days that makes the Lord smile. And what can you do that makes you smile. If it does not make you smile, then the chances are that you will not stick to it.
Here are a few guidelines to help you end this year smiling and feeling healthier.
Yes, life will get in the way and our best laid plans sometimes fall apart. Don’t sweat it. Understand that life happens and move on. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t quit, and don’t get frustrated because something came up. Learn to roll with life!
This can sound in direct contraction to being flexible, but it’s not. Do what you know to do to the best of your ability. Establish firm boundaries and do your best to honour them. Set boundaries around who may, and may not, have access to your time. Be firm with your ‘no’ so that you can say ‘yes’ to yourself. Honour your exercise time and see it as important as an appointment you would set with someone you truly respect. Eat within your boundaries and take responsibility for when you break them.
Goal setting requires mental toughness. Purpose in your heart every day to commit to doing what you know to do. Understand that when you are focused on your goals there will not be time for other things. Be prepared to give up some things so that you can focus on what you really want. No one has ever reached their goals sitting on the couch, so get focused on your goals and remove the distractions that are keeping your stuck.
Seek Him First
First things are important to God. And God honours us when we put Him first. The Bible says,
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
As you begin each week this month, give God control of your agenda. And as you wake up each morning, consecrate the day to God. Turn your health goals, as well as all of your other goals, desires, wants, and needs over to Him–ask Him to order your steps.
Resist the urge to do things on your own without seeking God first. If you’re struggling with motivation to exercise, ask God for help. If you’re challenged with eating sweets, spend some time in prayer and ask for strength.
I encourage you to incorporate this principle of ‘firstfruits’ into your health, as well as every other area of your life. I believe that it will bring a lot of peace, clarity, and a lot more smiles to your life :).
Pray this prayer today:
Lord, I thank you for this final month of the year. It’s been a trying year, but I’m grateful for all of the trials and situations you brought me through. It’s by your grace and mercy that I made it through them.
I thank you that I will celebrate the birth of your Son in this month. Keep me mindful of the reason for this season. I purpose to honour you in all I do this month. I will only go where you lead me. Keep me mindful of when my desire is to do things in my strength.
I commit this month to glorifying you in my body by eating the foods that will nourish me. I will look for creative ways to glory you in my movements and physical activity. I will do things that will make you smile and I will get healthier in a way that makes me smile.
I commit to ending this year giving you all the glory, honour, and praise!
In your holy name I pray!