This blog entry was first published on October 21, 2013. This is a topic I will cover more than once because of it’s importance! Enjoy
Spend Time With Jesus
When I was a little boy, my parents did daily devotions with me. In fact, the way I came to faith in Jesus was because of my bedtime devotions with my mom. As I became a teenager, occasionally I would do personal devotions, but usually only for the the first few weeks after camp. When I was on that “spiritual high”, I would really put forth effort to spend time with God every day. But it would fade, and I would get busy, and my time with God would stop. Even when I did spend time with Him, I would use the “blind spiritual finger” approach. That’s the one where I would randomly open the Bible, flip around a little bit, and then pick a verse or two and read them. I didn’t have a plan or system to keep me on track or to help me to grow. It was just random in when I would do it, how I would do it, and what passage I would do it from.
As a teenager, I was lukewarm at best, but the best classification of my spiritual life can be summed up in one word: hypocrite. My dad was a pastor; I went to Christian school; I was in church every time the doors were opened; I took part in, and even led, Bible studies and prayer meetings at school; I was active in leadership in our student ministry; I went on missions trips; helped with VBS; went to camp and much more. I was constantly around the Word of God. But I was not in the Word of God. I was hearing other people talk about Jesus and the Bible, but I was not spending time with Him each and every day. I did not allow God to have the opportunity to daily speak truth into my life.
Even today, if I miss a day of spending time with Jesus I can tell in my own life. Or maybe I rush my time, because there are “pressing appointments” and “things I have to do”. In those times, I can see how I treat people differently, my mindset is different and I haven’t allowed Jesus to be preeminent in my life that day!
David, in Psalm 63 says, “God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. 2 So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory.” In Psalm 1, the psalmist writes, “How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! 2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord ‘s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” In Psalm 63, it talks of eagerly seeking God, thirsting for God and gaining strength from God. In Psalm 1, we are told that the happy (or blessed) man is the one who takes delight in God’s instruction, becomes deeply rooted and fruitful. We could look all through Proverbs and see how we are told to love instruction, heed God’s Word, and listen to righteous counsel. When that happens, we become mature in our faith, and desire to follow Jesus closely.
This doesn’t happen by accident. No one has ever fallen in love with Jesus, deepened their relationship with Him and been sold out to God by mistake. It happens when we put forth the effort, because we realize that on our own, we are nothing. On our own, we cannot survive this world. On our own, we cannot live obedient lives. It happens when we spend daily time with Jesus.
Since 1998, I have used the Word of Life Quiet Time Diary
as my launchpad. It is not my end all, or the only thing I use. But it is my constant plan. I then use other things as well, such as, My Utmost For His Highest, YouVersion.com reading plans, a systematic study of a book of the Bible, or any other number of daily devotional readings. But the bottom line is there is a planned and strategic time alone with God.
The last thing is accountability. Who is speaking into your life and encouraging you to be in God’s Word daily? Even this morning, I received a text message at 6:30 AM (thankfully my phone was on Do Not Disturb) reminding me to spend time with Jesus. Accountability is important in our Christian walk (not just for daily time with Jesus) because we all need help to stay living the way God wants us to.
So what about you? Do you have a plan to spend time alone with God every day? If so, share it with us, so we can all learn together. If not, make the decision today to set aside time each and every day to be alone with Jesus. Put together a plan, get a devotional, or map out what your Bible study is going to be. And then get going!