Before Setting Goals, Managing Time: Reflect on Unifying Principles

In January 1985, I listened to lectures on tape of The Insight System for Planning Your Time and Your Life, by Charles R. Hobbs. He had many good principles of time management. I listened to the lectures and did the homework. This has influenced my way of managing time.

He said a person should manage their time by identifying his Unifying Principles — the greatest principles he knew of. He suggested reading the best books that would reveal these principles and list them. After listing them, one should rank them in order of importance. Then, plan to spend your time following these principles.

I identified the Bible as the best book of principles. I identified twelve unifying principles.

I took Jesus’ word about number one and number two of the greatest commands: love God, love your neighbor as yourself. I divided the second into loving my family first, then loving brothers in Christ next. I identified honesty as important and number three. I took Peter’s list of Christian virtues as next (2 Peter 1:5–7).

I spent the year 1985 defining the twelve Unifying Principles and finding four verses that encourage those qualities. I read in Naves Topical Bible and selected four verses for each principle.

I have them laminated and inserted into my 3-ring binder where I carry my 2-week calendar and other important information. Before I do memory work, I read aloud Unifying Principle A–1 in January, Unifying Principle A–2 in February, etc. This keeps them fresh on my mind.

I have found this helpful in keeping my thinking on the most important things.

I hope you find a “mustard seed” in these principles.

Love God

Love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Reflect on the fact that God loved me before I knew Him and when I didn’t deserve it. Respond by expressing in thought, word, and deed my love for God.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV).

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:18, 19).

“‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).


Love for Family

Love my family. Continue to build a close relationship with Gail, Jerrie Wayne, Terri, Elizabeth, Jeffrey, Jackson, Connor, Whitney, Nathan, Zane, Dalton, Lizzie, Wyatt Houston, Christi, Brian, Brittan, Braden, Mother, and Daddy. Plan and invest meaningful time with them. Show unconditional love, focused attention, eye contact, and physical contact.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22) .

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: ”that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2, 3).


Brotherly Kindness

Have a genuine love for my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Show a concern for what is happening in their lives – rejoicing when they rejoice, weeping when they weep.  Pray and work for the spiritual, intellectual, and physical well-being and growth of especially those in this congregation.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more (1 Thessalonians 4:9, 10).

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him (1 John 3:18, 19).


Honesty, Trustworthiness

Be honest with God, myself, and everyone.  Free myself from any form of hypocrisy.  Be open and sincere with God, my family, elders, staff, and friends.  See that all my business dealings are fair and upright.

“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light.  You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 25:13–15).

Honest weights and scales are the LORD’s;
All the weights in the bag are His work (Proverbs 16:11).

Providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men (2 Corinthians 8:21).

Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably (Hebrews 13:18).



Grow in my faith in God.  Study the word of God.  Reflect on the consistency of His truth.  Continue to mature in my faith in God by

  1.  Believing all His word.
  2.  Trusting Him completely.
  3.  Responding to His every command.

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
He also shall be my salvation,
For a hypocrite could not come before Him (Job 13:15, 16).

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:7).

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23, 24).

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4, 5).



Grow in virtue:

  1. Be concerned about and work toward moral excellence. Be aware that consistency in what I believe and the way I live will help me to have a greater sense of peace within and a better influence on others.
  2. Be mature, having the courage to do – even in difficult circumstances – what I know to be right.
  3. Cultivate and expend the energy to do what I know is right and have the courage to act.

The wicked flee when no one pursues,
But the righteous are bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1).

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10).

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).



Grow intellectually.  Expand my mind with a depth and breadth of reading and thought.  Seek discussions, books, courses, and experiences that will contribute to my mental development. 

Evaluate all knowledge within the framework of the truth revealed in the Bible.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1–5).

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

A wise man is strong,
Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength (Proverbs 24:5).


Self Control

Be controlled by principles in God’s word, the example of Jesus rather than being controlled by pleasure, ease, sinful desire, or the opinions of others.  This will be done by studying to learn the truth for my life, putting truth into action, and a system of accountability to hold myself responsible for right thoughts, actions, and growth.

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32).

It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth (Lamentations 3:27).

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).

For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ (Colossians 2:5).



Be patient.  Grow in all adversity and unpleasant circumstances.  Seek a lesson to be learned and character to be gained in every event in life.  Guard against bitterness and resentment.  In trials, develop long suffering, contentment, joy, and anticipation — in that order.

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret – it only causes harm.
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth (Psalm 37:7–9).

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2–4).



Be humble.  Free myself from boasting, arrogance, egotism, and self-centeredness.  Be teachable.  Have a close touch with reality and know myself as I  really am.  Keep my personal accomplishments in the background in favor of building other people.

Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).



Be thankful for all things at all times.  Make a specific effort to realize how I have been and continue to be blessed.  Think and thank in specifics.  Make the expression of gratitude a daily practice.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits (Psalm 103:2).

What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me? (Psalm 116:12).

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).



Be forgiving.  I continue to walk in the light and constantly receive God’s forgiveness.  I accept God’s forgiveness and am not burdened by sins and mistakes of the past.  I am active in seeking reconciliation with those who have wronged God, me, or others.

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

But if we continue to live in the light, just as He is in the light, we have unbroken fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son continues to cleanse us from every sin (1 John 1:7, Charles B. Williams translation).


(Visited 467 times, 43 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

7 Responses to “Before Setting Goals, Managing Time: Reflect on Unifying Principles

  • Best post this year!

  • Tom,

    Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Thanks a ton for this! You talked to me about this before in person but seeing it with all this detail is very helpful. I found a copy of Charles Hobb’s “Time Power” and cassette version of “The Insight System for Planning Your Time and Your Life” complete with the workbook. Most everyone I have seen who reviews this type of stuff online says it still reigns as the most valuable time management system they have come across. I am a firm believer in not following your heart and letting God’s word set our values (Ps. 119:105). Thanks again for sharing those 12 Values with context. Very Helpful post… Now, if only I could find a working cassette player… maybe one that will easily convert this to mp3.

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      2 years ago


      I know someone who might be able to transfer to CD or mp3.

      I’ll send you a contact.

      • Brandon Beard
        2 years ago

        No need, I found a brand new cassette player after I made that comment. I’m using a free program called audacity to record and convert the cassettes to digital format and I scanned the workbook into pdf. Thanks again.

        • Brandon,

          I think you will find good information and encouragement.

          It’s the best I’ve seen.

        • Mrs. T
          1 year ago

          Hi Brandon, I’ve been looking for the cassette version of “The Insight System for Planning Your Time and Your Life” with no luck. I know this might be a long shot but is there anyway I can get digital version of the cassette and the accompanying workbook pdf. I would sincerely appreciate it! thank you so much for considering.

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