The race is on—at school, in the office, at home. The world over, people are revving their mental engines in hopes of getting ahead. Fueled by intelligence, ambition and a dozen different formulas for success, they pull ahead for a few laps. But, as circumstances drive them off course, they again fall behind. And they’re destined to remain there—unless they discover…

The Secret to Getting Ahead

From this moment on, I want you to stop thinking of the Bible as a storybook. I want you to stop thinking of it as a religious textbook. I want you to stop thinking of it as a history book. I want you to start thinking of it as a handbook for living.

That’s what it is, you know. It’s the wisdom of Almighty God written down for you so you can apply it to your life and circumstances.

Consistently read and applied, the Bible will turn you into a winner. Not just now and then. Not just here and there. But every day in every single area of your life!

Does that sound too good to be true?

Then don’t take my word for it. Let the Lord speak for Himself. In Proverbs 4:7-8, He says, “[For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.]…. Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her” (The Amplified Bible).

Be advised, though, this promise isn’t meant for those who want to dab a little of the Word on their lives now and then when they get in a scrape. It’s talking to those who are willing to put the Word of God first place in their lives day after day after day!

Look again at the first part of that scripture. “Skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.” Principal means “first in importance.” According to that verse, you’re going to have to make God’s Word the most important thing in your life. Instead of being content with an occasional scanning of the Scriptures, you’re going to have to develop a passion for them. You’ll have to prize the Word highly, putting it before all your other activities.

When you do, God promises the Word will exalt and promote you and bring you to honor. Who could ask for anything more?

There are two very practical ways to give the Word first place in your life.

First, plan your schedule around the Word instead of trying to squeeze the Word into your schedule. As you mentally plan each day, automatically set aside time to study the Word first.

I know from experience what an impact that can have on your life. About 45 years ago, I heard a great man of God—Oral Roberts—say that the Lord had instructed him to read the Gospels and the book of Acts three times in 30 days, to get a greater revelation of Jesus. That inspired me to do the same thing.

I knew the Lord wanted me to begin at once—but it couldn’t have been a more inopportune time.

We had just moved to Tulsa so Kenneth could attend Oral Roberts University. Everything at our house was still upside down. We hadn’t even finished unpacking.

In addition to all that, I had the children to care for. Both were at demanding ages—Kellie was 3 years old and John was 9 months. When they wanted something, they wouldn’t wait 30 minutes, much less 30 days!

Where will I get the time? I wondered.

Still, I was determined. No matter what it took, I was going to read the Gospels and Acts three times in 30 days.

I figured how many pages I needed to read each day in my Amplified Bible. It came to four hours or more. Most of the reading had to be done while the children were asleep, so I set time aside three times a day. Rising at 5:30 a.m., I read until the rest of the family woke up. When the children took their naps in the afternoon, I read again. Then, at night, I would finish whatever was left.

Regardless of what happened or what needed to be done, I put God’s Word first. I thought the other things would just have to wait until next month, but God had a pleasant surprise in store for me!

Putting God’s Word First

The very first day, I sat down at 3 p.m. with my day’s work done—and I had already spent several hours in the Word! The following days, I continued to put God’s Word first. And by the end of the month, I’d painted and antiqued four pieces of furniture from start to finish, done the ironing (which had been accumulating for weeks), and had my house in order.

I was amazed. I would never have been able to do that under normal conditions!

Back then Kenneth and I knew very little about how to live by faith. I didn’t know the Word makes your way prosperous and causes good success (Joshua 1:8, AMP). I didn’t know that if you put God’s wisdom first, it would exalt and promote you.

But I experienced a miracle of God just the same. By faith, I had put His Word first, and He caused Proverbs 4:7-8 to come to pass in my life.

He’ll do the same for you! Whether you’re a housewife, a mechanic or an executive, once you commit yourself to making God’s Word your first priority, you’ll begin to prosper in everything you do.

But let me warn you, you’ll never get around to the Word if you wait until you have time. Satan will see to it you never have the time. He is vehemently opposed to your feeding on God’s Word.

So learn to set aside less important things. Start giving the Word first place in your schedule and everything else will fall in line. Jesus knew that. That’s why He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Guard your time in the Word. Satan will steal it from you if he can. He’ll use everything from television to church activities to lure you away from God’s wisdom.

Why? Because he knows the Word frees you from his dominion! If he can keep you out of the Word, he can keep you bound and struggling.

Putting the Word first is something you’ll have to do continually. When you get bogged down in the details of living, when you find yourself frustrated by failures big and small, check the amount of time you’re spending in the Word. You’ll find that you’ve let the Word slip into second place and spent your Word time on other things.

Martha or Mary?

That’s what happened to Martha. Jesus Himself was in her living room teaching the Word. But she didn’t think she had time to listen. She was too busy cooking dinner for Him. I’m sure it seemed like the only proper thing for her to do. After all, Jesus and His ministry team were staying in her home. Let’s read that passage in Luke 10:38-42:

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

I can just see Martha stewing around the kitchen, banging pots and pans, and feeling sorry for herself. She wanted Jesus to rebuke Mary, but instead the Master was pleased that Mary had put His Word first.

Martha could have been at the Master’s feet too, if she’d made up her mind to be. Jesus had fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes. He could have just as easily prepared a banquet for all those present that day!

You may think, What an opportunity Martha wasted! I would never do that. But every time you allow things to swallow up your time in the Word, you’re passing up the opportunity to sit at the Master’s feet, just like she did.

In addition to building your schedule around the Word of God, there’s a second way to give the Word priority in your life—by acting on it!

Simply acquiring knowledge of the Word isn’t enough. You have to put that knowledge to work in your life before it will bring results. I can sit around all night long knowing how to turn on a light, but until I apply that knowledge by getting up and flipping the switch, I’ll be in the dark.

The Word of God works the same way. So, as soon as you learn something from it, take action. Do it!

Then, as you see the wisdom of the Word produce results in your life, you’ll begin to esteem and to prize Wisdom above all that you may desire in life (Proverbs 3:15, AMP). And as you put the Word first and exalt it in your life, the Word will exalt and promote you.

Start today. Spend some quality time in God’s Word. Make that the first and most important item on your agenda. Your daily activities will go more smoothly. And as you continually apply the wisdom you glean from God’s Word, you’ll find yourself moving ahead daily in every area of life. “This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success” (Joshua 1:8, AMP). Good success belongs to you.

*Article taken from April 2015 issue of BVOV Magazine. Read the PDF version here.

Gloria Copeland is internationally known as an author, teacher and minister of the gospel. She and her husband, Kenneth, co-founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas in 1967. Gloria preaches worldwide the truth and freedom she has found in God, sharing honest, straightforward messages about how the Word of God has taken her from a life of failure and defeat to a life of victory. As a wife, mother, grandmother and vice president of an international ministry, Gloria is well-acquainted with the challenges people face today and is well-equipped to show them where to find answers to success and the fulfillment of God’s plan for their lives.