Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Will We Give Up to Spend Time With God?

Yesterday marks the beginning of my favorite four months of the year. But for many, September through December are months of busyness: kids back in school, end-of-year budgets at work and Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Pastor Charles Stanley has some words regarding busyness:

“God loves you and wants you to experience the peace and freedom that come from knowing Him intimately. But that can happen only if you spend time with Him. You can’t hear the Father’s voice when you’re rushing from one place to another…It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the things we think we have to do today. But trust me, spending quality time with God is the most important. There is no substitute for this. And when you make the conscious decision to put away all of the gadgets and worries that distract you and then focus your whole attention on the Lord, He will bless you beyond measure. He is ever-present in every circumstance and will bring His light of wisdom into your heart when you seek His guidance. You simply have to slow down and listen.” Charles Stanley

The devil and/or our sense of self-importance will attempt to put the notion in our heads that we “don’t have time” to be in Scripture or to pray consistently. Don’t buy it. It’s like I told my son, when he was considering not being in the symphony this year because he “didn’t have time” to practice his clarinet. I said, “If you want to practice, you’ll make time for it. Get up an hour earlier, socialize an hour less in the evening, or eliminate time spent watching YouTube. If you want to play clarinet, you’ll make time to practice.” My son must spend time with his clarinet if he wants that symphonic relationship to bear fruit. Likewise, we must spend time alone with God so He can bear fruit. Nobody can do it for us.

Do we truly thirst after God? Are we letting TV, idle chatter on Facebook and Twitter, surfing the internet (guilty), and bumming around stores (guilty) get in the way of meeting one on one with God? Are we substituting committee and volunteer work (been there) for an intimate prayer life? Do we let politics and causes keep us from personal time in God’s Word? (done that). Even other pursuits, like working-out, gardening, cleaning the house or reading newspapers mustn't replace time spent in prayer and the Bible (I often pray while I bike, or worship God as I listen to Christian music while I run or walk. But I still need that daily time with God through His Word, and to be honest, I find that some prayers must be said in stillness and quiet.)

Stanley says, “God’s deepest desire is that we would desire His fellowship above everything else.” And that’s important, because I’ve found that the more I’m with God, the less of me there is. And the less of me there is, the less “busy” and more productive I am through the power and grace of God working in me.

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” Philippians 3:8-9

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