Is there anything more embarrassing than accounting for your time by calling it “quiet time?” Despite this habit being a regular part of my life for the better part of the last two decades, I still get chills up and down my spine whenever I use this phrase.
If I had to guess, I’d imagine the phrase was derived from a handful of Scriptures. Maybe the Lord coming to Elijah not in the wind or the fire but in the still, small voice. Maybe because the Lord commanded through the Psalms that we “be still and know that [He is] God.” Maybe because Jesus went away to pray in the early hours of the morning.
For the next several weeks we’ll spend Mondays investigating spiritual disciplines, these means of grace the Lord has given.
But before we move toward studying and internalizing the Word or fasting and prayer, can we spend a few moments today to dig past the Christianese sayings that surround time spent with God? Why do we need to be with Him? What does He long to accomplish in the quiet? Does it have to be quiet? And is it just one time we set aside in the day?
Even the briefest reading of the Old Testament is helpful in diagnosing our need for time with the Lord. Over and over and over again He spoke to His people Israel through the prophets. Over and over and over again they promised their best intentions of obeying the Word of the Lord. And yet over and over and over again we come across this one problem.
“So he saved them from the hand of the foe
and redeemed them from the power of the enemy…
Then they believed his words;
they sang his praise.
But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.”
Psalm 106:10, 12-13
With staggering speed they forgot who He was. They forgot what He had done. And they made gods of whatever else they could find.
With staggering speed they forgot who He was.
This is the human heart, so eager to run away from all that we know to be true. Our sister Eve fell to the same deception. She misquotes God and we know: she has forgotten who He is—precisely. Exactness matters and the seemingly small error wedged disbelief into her heart faster than she recognized.
What then is the Good News? What do we, the ones who have Jesus, cling to?
“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
God made a perfect world out of the loving goodness of His very own heart.
We believe the lie that He does not love us.
The lie infects all our living, sickly and soured and sinful.
Jesus lives the right life and dies our deserved death.
The Holy Spirit moves in to right the wrongness of our hearts.
He helps us.
He teaches us.
He reminds us.
He convicts us.
He guides us into truth.
He gives the Father to us.
And it seems from all these verbs—all the actions of the Spirit on our behalf—that God does not so much want a “quiet time” from us. Rather, He wants a feast for us.
God is not looking for us to do a devotional. He longs for us to open up our hearts and minds to the Spirit and invite Him to do the God-sized work of drawing us to remembrance. We put our hearts in the path of God’s Word, confession, praise, and thanksgiving, and the Spirit works belief in us.
We are not placing an order for the Spirit or putting in dues so He will arrive. Even the desire to draw near comes from Him.
Remember, this morning, Beloved. Jesus did not die so you could have a “quiet time.” He died so you might live and not forget His love.
Your Heavenly Father is good and loving.
You were dead, but now you are alive.
He longs to renew your mind. He longs to feed you on truth. So welcome the Word today. And talk to God by the Spirit all day long. Offer thanks for the parking spot and for the good grade. Confess the jealousy or the greed. Praise Him for the cross.
Set aside time to binge on the nearness of God, and then watch His faithfulness to chase you with goodness all day long. And when you sleep too late or browse Facebook until your eyes slam shut, praise Him for grace and watch His faithfulness chase you with goodness all day long anyway.
Invite the Spirit to remind you of who God is and how He loves you. He will so joyfully do just that.
Pause to consider…
- Do you struggle to spend time with God? Is it characterized by joy or guilt?
- How might you view Him differently if you let go of the “quiet time” mentality and aimed just to be reminded of the love of God for you?