Several years ago, when I was going through a challenging time, my mentor, author, and First Lady, P. Bunny Wilson, shared a practice with me that literally transformed my life. She calls it FLY time. FLY is an acronym that stands for First Love, Yes! In Revelation 2:2-4, Jesus tells the church at Ephesus that He knows their works and labor for His sake, however, He goes on to say: “Nevertheless, this I have against you, that you have left your First Love.” FLY time simply calls us to say yes to God, our first love, and put Him first, every morning.
We were created to have intimacy with God. Let’s go back to the beginning. In Genesis 2:25, Adam and Eve were naked before God and were not ashamed. God’s intention for us has always been to have a deep, unrestricted intimacy with Him, with nothing between us. God created us to interact with Him on a personal, intimate basis. Sin destroys the intimate communion God originally designed for us to enjoy. It creates a painful emotional distance between us and God. In Genesis 3:8, after Adam and Eve sinned, when they heard God walking around the garden, they hid themselves. Seeking to commune with Him daily through the Holy Spirit, restores that communion. In Psalm 23, God tells us that He leads us beside still waters and restores our soul.
We must stay continually connected to our “power source” so that we remain energized to do His work. You see, if we are not working in His power and strength, we will soon get burned out, discouraged and disconnected
FLY time, in essence, is tithing our time back to God. It is offering an even more precious commodity than our money. It is offering ourselves totally surrendered and available for God to accomplish His purpose in our lives. It’s not about you! God created you for His pleasure and purposes; for intimacy with Himself. Developing that relationship should be your top priority.
For example, I’m up on average for 16 to 17 hours a day. So, I get up early enough to spend an hour and a half every morning maintaining that vital connection to God. Now, before you say: ‘It doesn’t take all that. I can talk to God throughout the day, or I can pray and read the Word at night,’ let’s examine the importance of starting your day with God.
- First, if you’re like me, at the end of a busy day, I’m exhausted, just wiped out. I would attempt to read the Bible at night with one eye open. Soon the Bible would be reading me. Like bread, that’s fresh in the morning, by night it’s stale and so are we after a hectic day. It was hard for me to get up early at first until I saw the immense peace and blessings that flowed from it. Now, I look forward to it. It is, without question, the best part of my day.
O, God. You are my God. Early I will seek You; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You, Psalm 63:1
- We are our freshest and best in the morning. We expect God’s best. Why not give Him our best? Our best requires sacrifice!
- Seeking God first thing in the morning makes him your top priority of the day and if you don’t prioritize your day, your day will prioritize you! If God is first every day, there’s nothing that can bump Him off your schedule.
- Probably the most important reason to start your day in God’s presence is because this is where spiritual greatness is born. Jesus Himself started His day in prayer to God because this was His power source. This is where He went to be directed, restored and replenished.
Now, in the morning, having risen a long while before daybreak, He went out and departed to a solitary place and there, He prayed, Mark 1:35
- Starting the day with God sets the tone for your day. Starting everyday with God sets the tone for your life!
Now, that we’ve hopefully settled the necessity of giving God the first part of your day, let’s move on to the seven components of FLY time.
1) WORSHIP – Worship is not part of your life, it is your life. We were created for God’s pleasure and worship brings Him pleasure. Worship is reverence, extravagant respect and devotion to God. Pouring yourself out to God pleases Him. When we fulfill our purpose of worship our spirit is refreshed because that is the way God designed it. John 4:23 says: “The hour is coming when true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.” God seeks people who will worship Him according to the truth of the Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit. It is in your worship that you receive revelation knowledge and power.
2) PRAISE – Psalm 150 says: “Let everything that have breath praise the Lord!” 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Even in tough times, give thanks and praise knowing that God is in control and He will work everything together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). When I think of how much God loves me that He sent His only begotten Son to die so that I may have everlasting life (John 3:16), I’m just overflowing with thanks and praise. When I let my mind wrap around the fact that He spoke everything that exists into existence with such precision and magnificence (the solar system, the eco system, the human body, etc.), I am just in awe. There is nothing too hard for God. Praise puts our focus on God and His awesome power, not our problems.
3) CONFESS AND REPENT – 1John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That is His promise to us. Willful sin short circuits your faith and affects your intimate relationship with God because feelings of guilt creep in. Confession allows us to keep unbroken communion with God. There are no attempted secrets. Everything is out in the open. (As if we could ever hide anything from God in the first place.)
4) PRAYER – 1Thessalonians 5:17 says: “Pray without ceasing.” This is how you communicate with God. It must become instinctual and automatic whenever you meet trials and when you need direction, which is every day. Prayer is the biggest timesaver. Since God knows everything, ask Him to direct your steps. He wants to answer your prayer. You have but to ask. Mathew 7:7 says: “Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you.” Pray not only for yourself but intercede on behalf of others. Remember, the prayers of the righteous availeth much. More important, prayer gives us God’s perspective on any situation. Prayer is where you will do your most effective warfare. Fight your battles on your knees and win every time. Prayer works!
5) MEDITATE IN THE WORD – Don’t just read the Bible, devour it! Memorize it! Psalm 119:11 says: “Thy Word I have hid in my heart that I shall not sin against Thee.” Joshua 1:9-10 “The Word of the Law shall not depart from your mouth. You shall meditate in it day and night. Then you shall make your way prosperous. Then you shall have good success.” Meditating in the Word is God’s promise for success. Hebrews 4:12 says “the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” So, in this marvelous Word, you will not only learn who God is but you will also see who you are and if you’re like me, you’ll see some things that you won’t like at all and you’ll be forced to deal with them. In John 8:31-32 Jesus says “If you abide in my Word, you are my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Trying to live without studying His word is like trying to put together a complex piece of machinery without the instruction manual and guess what? It just doesn’t work!
6) LISTEN – Sit and listen to God’s still small voice. Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still and know that I am God.” God’s voice won’t compete with any other voices so shut down your mind and thoughts so you can hear the voice of God. Jesus said: “My sheep know my voice.” When someone first told me that God told them to do something, I thought. ‘I’ve never heard God talk to me like that.’ Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot hear from God. You are to listen humbly, submissively and completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth to you. If you are unsure if the Holy Spirit is in you, please read the section called: The Most Important Thing. There is no mistaking when you’ve heard from God. You get an unction in your spirit that is undeniable and even if it’s something you don’t want to do, you will have a sense of peace. God’s voice will always line up with His Word. Hearing God speak to us is life’s greatest blessing.
7) OBEY! – Immediately. Faith without works is dead. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Charles Stanley says: “Obey God and leave all the consequences up to Him.” Think about it. Who better to handle the consequences of your actions than the all knowing, all powerful, loving God of the universe, Who has your best interest at heart? Once you truly understand how unconditionally God loves you, you’ll find it much easier to obey.
And there you have it. Seven steps to a deeper relationship with God. Remember, this takes time and begins with one important step; accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life, John 3:16
Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks. He won’t force His way in, though. You must open the door and let Him in. Once you believe in your heart that Christ died for your sins, you may pray the prayer of salvation: “Lord, Jesus, come into my life. Forgive me of my sins. I believe you died and rose from the dead for me. Save me and be Lord of my life. Amen.”
If you confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, Romans 10:9
Now, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Counselor and Comforter sent by God, will come to live inside you and enable you to live the life God has created you to live. You can’t do this apart from Him.
However, when He, the Spirit of Truth has come, He will guide you into all truth…,” John 16:13
In order to FLY (First Love, Yes!) you must DIE (Death to an Independent Existence) apart from God.
Just imagine what you could accomplish if you were to FLY every day. Now, imagine what your family can accomplish… your friends, community… I’m just crazy enough to believe that we can start a FLY movement. Imagine people all over the world waking up to spend time with God, turning off the TV, radio, internet and i-pods in order to hear that still small voice that won’t compete with the voices of the culture. Imagine people answering the call, moving in their purpose and blessing other people. We could wipe out hunger, eradicate AIDS, do away with homelessness, reverse the horrible statistics in our community and transform this world into the Kingdom God created it to be all because we said yes to our First Love.
Recommended books for FLY time:
Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
Intimacy With The Almighty by Charles Swindoll
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Humility, Beauty of Holiness by Andrew Murray
The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible by Nelson Bibles
Bait Of Satan:Living Free From the Deadly Trap of Offense by John Bevere
The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren
On Being a Servant of God by Warren Wiersbe
A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God Through a Daily Devotional Life by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Most Important Person On Earth by Dr. Myles Munroe
Living the Extraordinary Life: Nine Principles to Discover It by Charles Stanley
This Present Darkness by Frank Perretti