15 Principles for Ordering your World

Guest post by Rob Tims

“Order your private world.”

This is the event in my calendar Monday thru Friday, 6:45 to 7:15. It comes after I exercise, eat, shower, dress, and drive to work, but before I do any work. The 30-minute window is flexible, but keeping this appointment is not. If I don’t take the time early in the morning to assess and prepare for my tasks, meetings, and potential conversations I will most likely have that day, then I find myself woefully unprepared and at the mercy of all those things to survive the day. Simply put, the order of my private world significantly influences the order of my outer world.

In his book, Ordering your Private World, George MacDonald offers 15 principles for ordering one’s private world. His goal is simple: to help us develop a strength and resilience that can bear up under the pressure of all life brings. I share those 15 principles with you here in hopes that they will speak to you and encourage you to order your private world.

  1. If my private world is in order, it will be because I am convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity.
  2. If my private world is in order, it will be because I make a daily choice to monitor its state of disorderliness.
  3. If my private world is in order, it will be because I recognize my proneness to operate according to schemes and patterns not made of God but fashioned by a disordered past.
  4. If my private world is in order, it will be because, having faced up to what drives me, I listen quietly for the call of Christ.
  5. If my private world is in order, it will be because I see myself as Christ’s steward and not as master of my purpose, role, and my identity.
  6. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have made a daily determination to see time as God’s gift and worthy of careful investment.
  7. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have begun to seal the “time leaks” and allocate my productive hours in the light of my capabilities, my limits, and my priorities.
  8. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have determined that every day will be for me a day of growth in knowledge and wisdom.
  9. If my private world is in order, it will be because I see to use all I learn in service to others, as Christ did.
  10. If my private world is in order, it will be because I regularly choose to enlarge the spiritua center of my life.
  11. If my private world is in order, it will be because I am unafraid to be alone and quiet before Christ.
  12. If my private world is in order, it will be because I absorb the words of Christ into my attitudes and actions.
  13. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have begun to pursue the discipline of seeing events and people through the eyes of Christ so that my prayers reflect my desire to be in alignment with His purposes and promises for them.
  14. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have chosen to press Sabbath peace into the rush and routine of my daily life in order to find the rest God prescribed for Himself and all of humanity.
  15. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have made a deliberate decision to begin the “ordering” process now.

Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.

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