This is a verse that most Christians know, and yet it seems that everything in our modern world works against us.
Phone calls, emails, text messages, social media, television, kids, pets, traffic. The list of distractions is seemingly endless. In a culture that rewards and even demands constant juggling and multitasking, it is incumbent upon each of us to make the effort to focus on spending uninterrupted time with God.
I know, I know. You’re good with juggling tasks. And God understands how busy you are, right?
Actually, I think the level of chaos, clutter, and noise in our lives creates a kind of mental environment in which whatever and whoever is the loudest gets our attention. How many times have you failed to finish — or even begin — focused time in Scripture and prayer, in spite of your best intentions, all because you got interrupted?
If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer that to be a rhetorical question. The truth is that we all fight this ongoing battle to carve out time. And while God, of course, knows the intimate details of our schedules, He also knows how many non-essential, superfluous things win our time and attention. We understand that God is always available to us, and perhaps unconsciously, we actually take advantage of that fact.
Let me put it this way: How many of your real-life friends would still be your friends if you treated them as casually as you treat God? As hours become days, and days become weeks, would you expect your friends to just camp out in his or her designated spot until you found time to visit? Of course not!
One of the greatest lies in our culture is that we’ll somehow ‘find time.’ How often do you hear people use that expression? How often do you find yourself saying it — maybe not verbally but within your own private thoughts?
The reality is that we make the time to do those things that are most important to us. [Tweet That!] And if we’re really honest with ourselves, it’s hard to deny the fact that we carve out time for things that are far less important than our relationship with God — things that drain us and rob us of valuable resources and energy that are necessary to engage in a personal relationship with Him.
I often wonder how healthy we’d be if we treated our bodies with the same level of importance as we treat our spiritual selves. I know people who claim to be believers but who have acknowledged to me that they almost never attend church, rarely open their Bibles, and kneel before the Lord in prayer only when tragedy strikes or all other alternatives have been exhausted.
Does that sound like a friend to you?
Maybe you’re reading this today, thinking, “I’m OK. This is not my struggle.” I truly hope that’s the case. And if so, then you are exceptional. The statistics I’ve seen in recent years, along with everyday anecdotal evidence, indicates that this is a struggle for most of us.
As you continue in this new year, I challenge you to evaluate your personal relationship with God — your Creator, the One who knows everything about you and loves you just the same. Don’t wait, hoping to ‘find time’ or ‘get around to it.’ Give Him the priority in your life — your best, not your leftovers.
You don’t have to spend an hour. Sometimes we think the longer we spend and the more ‘planned’ we make the time, the better off we’ll be. This mind-set can not only set you up for failure, but it can also result in a legalistic attitude toward God (which is a blog for another day).
If you haven’t been spending focused time with God, start off by committing to a few minutes a day. [Tweet That!] Find a Bible-based devotional book from a Bible-believing pastor or author, and allow God to speak to you. Turn off the TV. Silence your cell phone. (Better yet, silence it and put it in another room. Yes, it gives you easy access to a dictionary and other great resources. Perhaps you even use your phone to access Scripture through a website or app. If so, that’s fine. Just be sure you are absolutely committed to ignore those automatic pop-up messages and news alerts that will still compete for your attention in that obnoxious ‘Hey, look at me’ kind of way.)
If you need suggestions for solid resources, feel free to contact me. Just take time this year — one day at a time — to be still and know that He is God.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
What noise in your life presents the greatest challenge to spending focused time with God?