We are heading into the home stretch of this school year and I pray you and your family are well. This month I wanted to share with you some thoughts I have been having around the topic of our daily quiet time with the Lord.
If you have been in the church world very long you have probably heard the phrase, “quiet time”. If you haven’t heard that specific phrase you have probably had someone heavily encourage you to be reading your Bible daily. This is wonderful counsel. One of the most important daily disciplines of the Christ follower is to constantly be reading and pouring over the Scriptures. The problem is, though we are encouraged to daily read, we are rarely told what exactly we are looking for. Add that to our consumer oriented, instant gratification culture and our expectation for our daily quiet time looks something like this:
I expect to sit down and read one small selection of verses and within fifteen minutes to an hour's time, I expect to have all the spiritual “inspiration” to guide me throughout the day.
If you’re anything like me this sums up your thinking when it comes to your daily reading of the Bible. Also, if you’re anything like me, you have struggled and struggled to find the depth you are desiring from this model.
Let me be clear. This approach to reading the Bible (the devotional approach) is not a bad one. In fact, it’s actually pretty helpful when it comes to meditating on God’s word and scripture memorization. However, to believe that every single day we are going to sit down and in a matter of moments understand what we have read from such a vast and deep God-breathed Bible seems a bit overzealous. I believe this is what causes much of our frustration as we read. Many of us finish with our time and we walk away without a clear, cookie cutter explanation of what we have read, and in turn view our time as a failure.
So, as I have struggled and put the issue before the Lord I have realized a few practical things that I would like to share with you.
1. The Bible is a complex collection of story and testimony of God which takes place over centuries and in a variety of cultural contexts which we are not familiar with. So, why not take your time, study and research the context in which the narrative is taking place so you can better understand what you are reading. This won’t happen in a single morning over coffee. Give yourself some freedom to explore. I promise you, it will only do you good to see the context of things.
2. When is the last time God taught you something and it only took Him 15 minutes to do it? My answer is almost never! The process of the Holy Spirit teaching and refining us is a process that takes place over time and in the context of our lives. Why don’t we read the Scriptures the same way? It’s completely alright if you don’t understand every way your reading applies to your life. That’s why you have the Holy Spirit. He’s the one who has to teach you about what the Bible says. What if you changed your goal of having complete understanding to a goal of formulating a question before God? This would create a conversation with the Holy Spirit and would also create a further journey in exploring His word as you seek out the answers.
I realize I haven’t tied this article up in a pretty bow but my desire was to bring you in on my journey as I seek to fall deeper in love with the Bible. This shouldn’t be the most frustrating part of our Christian lives. This should be a place where we expect to meet with God and struggle with Him as He makes us more like Christ.
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