You Can Benefit from Time Spent with God
All of us, whatever our age or stage of life, can benefit from time spent with God, so I encourage you to develop a daily quiet time with the Lord. If we’re not careful, we find ourselves hurrying through prayer and reading God’s Word to get to the “important things,” but really, there is nothing more important than this.
Scripture tells us that Jesus longs to have fellowship with us. We have an open invitation from Him. The apostle John said that our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” When we spend time with the Lord, we learn from Him. Students learn in the presence of their teacher, and we learn in the presence of ours. Just being in church once a week is not enough. When we refresh our spirit every day by spending time in His presence, our whole being is affected in a positive way.
Is there a good example for this? There is. It’s Jesus Christ. As He walked this earth, He sought to spend time with God the Father. He spent time in prayer. He spent time alone with God — away from even His closest disciples and family. He consistently met with God, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. He pulled away from the demands of ministry and deliberately maintained intimate contact with the Father. And He told His followers to follow His example: I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
How do we do this?
I believe there are four things that will help us:
1. Remember that spending time with God is not about ritual, but relationship
When you and I were born again, we entered into a relationship with Almighty God. He is not only our God, he is our Heavenly Father. We have freedom before Him, and access to His throne. We don’t have to be afraid of Him. Rituals might be burdensome, but relationships with loved ones rarely are. Spending time with one that you love is exciting and life-changing — and that’s how your daily time with your Father God should be.
2. Establish a specific time every day when you will spend time with the Lord.
Don’t you find that what gets scheduled usually gets done? I do. Find a time that works with your lifestyle and your family demands, then stick to it! Make it a top priority. That’s how habits are developed. Persevere even when you are tired, and don’t feel like it. Remember, we’d never get anything accomplished if we lived by our feelings alone!
3. Minimize your interruptions.
When you’re spending time with God, give Him all of your attention. Turn off the telephone and the television. Find a nice, quiet, cozy spot where you are comfortable. If you have children, teach them to respect your privacy during this time, and explain to them that this is your time with God. Then they will learn the importance of a daily quiet time, and you’ll reinforce its importance in their eyes, too. Pray that they will follow your example, and encourage them to do so.
4. Choose a Bible version and a Bible-reading plan.
This is so important — especially for new Christians. Ask a pastor or friend to help you select a good translation. I like the New International Version or the New Living Translation. Doing a little research to find the right translation for you will help you in the long run. Then get a reading plan. Don’t just open the Bible and randomly skip around. Again, ask a pastor or a friend to help you select a reading plan if you’re not sure. Balance your reading between the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is rich in history and knowledge — and the New Testament presents the story of Christ and the birth of the church. Both are so valuable — and reading one will help you understand the other.
5. Interact as you read.
The Bible is a living book, written by a living God. As the Holy Spirit to give you understanding, wisdom and revelation as you read. Read the Bible as if it were a love letter, because it is — it is God’s love letter to you! Pray as you go. Take notes, and don’t be afraid to mark scriptures in your Bible itself. Interact with your Bible, and ask God to use it to change your heart and life.
All of these things are important, but the most important thing you can do is to begin — and that you can do today!