Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Quiet Time - Part 1
This is a topic that has been on my heart for a long time, and at the risk of sounding preachy or self-righteous, I am going to address it. I have seen this subject become much abused over the last 18 years plus, since I was saved, and like all things that are pure, good, lovely, etc., the devil seems to have yet another stronghold in the circles of Christianity.
I am talking about personal time with the Lord. Private devotions. Whatever you call it, it is that time when you spend your own time reading the Bible and praying. Daily. That is a fundamental block in a Christian's walk with God. You cannot be godly without spending time with God. You cannot grow if you don't eat. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
Myth #1:"You don't have to feel guilty about not having a regular time to read your Bible and pray."
This is very popular trend right now. I have been amazed, astonished, and greatly disappointed at the number of "experts" that say this. Especially those addressing mothers. Mothers, if anyone, need that time desperately! I know, because I am one. :) The going philosophy is (and yes, it is a philosophy, because it certainly isn't biblical) that if you have children, then its okay if you don't have a regular time with the Lord. Show me the verse that exempts mothers from their responsibility in any area of the christian walk. Did anyone say it was going to be easy? Of course not.
James 4:17 "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
That is a verse parents love to quote to their children, but it applies to adults as well. Perhaps the reason you feel guilty for not having your time with the Lord is because you are sinning? It is a good thing to be able to feel guilt, as that is one way the Lord uses the Holy Spirit to bring us to Him. Guilt lets us know when we have crossed the line, so to speak. Now, you can follow the line of thinking that you "don't have to feel guilty" because in this country, we don't like discomfort of any kind. You can ignore the guilt, or reason it away with worldly philosophy, until your heart is hardened on that point. Satan will love that. He will have one area of your life, and then go for another, so on and so on.
I know there are times when life has an emergency, or some crisis that alters our general routines, but that is covered in a different part of this little devotional. My point is that you absolutely should have a regular habit of having time with the Lord. If we miss and we feel that sweet tug from the Lord, don't ignore it, or reason it away, or try to justify it. That is the Lord talking to you! How precious! If you don't have a regular time with the Lord, then I pray you do feel guilty and that is nags you until you yield to Him in this matter.
That last myth runs somewhat into Myth #2:"It's quality, not quantity." I will be addressing that next.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 " For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;"
Well, how do you learn about God? How do you learn how to conduct yourself as a Christian? Look at verse 11: "And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;"
2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the world of truth." Study takes time. It takes diligence. It takes a regularity of habit. You can't learn to rightly divide the word of truth if you aren't reading it on a regular basis.
1 Kings 19:12 "And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." I am sure most of us are familiar with this part of Elijah's life. I'm also sure you have heard the application of God's still, small voice. Was it because God couldn't be heard in the earthquake or in the fire? No. He wanted Elijah to quiet himself before his Lord.
That is what having personal time with the Lord can do. In the midst of chaos in our life, it can calm us, focus our thought on Him, the One who we should be turning to at every crossroads. The One we should be praising at all time. If we don't make the effort to meet with Him everyday, then there is no spiritual centering of ourselves to focus on the Lord, His Word, to equip us with whatever the day brings forth.
Ephesians 6:13-17 "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: "
I don't care how many times those verses are used.. they are true and right. God's Word doesn't change, and neither should we. You can't quench the fiery darts of the wicked without faith. You can't grow in faith if you aren't being fed spiritually through His Word. Interestingly enough, the Bible is the only offensive weapon listed in our spiritual ware fare attire. Do you want to wield the sword with skill, or like a clumsy oaf, who is more likely to harm himself instead of putting up a strong offense?
Mothers, this is especially important for us. We are raising little warriors for the Lord. If we are to protect them from the world, we have to have this armor on, and have it on correctly. We have to know how to refute the devil with the Word of God. Our children need us to be able to quench any fiery darts aimed their way, until they can handle the wolves themselves. We need the armor on to protect ourselves too from worldly lusts, covetousness, and longings.
So, should we feel guilty if we aren't having regular time with the Lord? I not only say we should, but if you don't feel guilty, then I would be nervous about the absence of guilt. Don't harden your heart in this area, and God will surely bless you for it.
Interesting note as I close here: One of my dd's mentioned to me just the other day while we were out for a walk that she has noticed how much better the day seems to go when she is sure to start out the day with prayer and Bible reading. She is 10.