Spending Time with God
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
Spending time with God seems to be an abstract concept for a lot of people. Some know that they should but don’t get around to it and others don’t realize the significance of it at all. This is one activity in our daily lives that is most often overlooked and underutilized. This topic has been heavy on my heart since I decided to start a blog so I wanted to make sure my first blog covered this area. I believe God is calling out for His people to make Him a priority so I wanted to go over a few reasons we should be spending time with God and why I think some people choose not to.
1. For starters, we should be spending time with God because we love Him.
Before anyone reading this was even a thought on this Earth, God loved you. He knew that you would enter into this world in need of a Savior, not just for eternal salvation, but for all you could ever need emotionally, physically, and spiritually during your time on this Earth. Because of this great love, the Bible says that while we were YET sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). In the greatest love story ever told, the God of the Universe made the first move in pursuing you. Before you were able to recognize you had a void, it was filled. Before you knew you had lack, you were given access to abundance. Before you ever made a mistake, His grace had been provided. As if this wasn’t enough, once we made our entry into this world, He continued His relentless pursuit. How? Protecting your life long enough for you to accept Christ into your life. For if you had died before then, you would be apart from Him for eternity. And now, now that you have come into the knowledge of salvation and who God truly is, you take the time to worship, read your bible, pray, and spend time with Him because you LOVE Him. Because He loved you enough to save your dying soul. He has healed you, provided for you, protected you and even if you can’t see it, I’m telling you now, He has been MORE than good to you. And after all of that, all God asks you to do is come. He made the first move…the second move…the third move and on and on, and all He wants you to do is come. He didn’t ask you to be perfect, to be religiously correct, or to know the Bible backwards and forwards but to come to Him and let Him have your burdens as you take on the freedom he bought for you on the cross. How could we not want to spend time with a God like that?
2. We spend time with God because we need to.
A part of our coming to God as He has asked us to do is an exchange that’s highlighted in Matthew 11:29-30. Life has a way of weighing you down. You have discouraging moments, weary days and sometimes you just don’t know how things are going to work out. It happens to all of us, it’s a part of life in this world. But time spent with God is the antidote to all of that emptiness, stress and worry. We can literally give God all of that care and walk away with joy, peace and strength to keep going. But that exchange is a choice, not a magical occurrence that will happen no matter what you do. You choose, when spending time with God, to allow Him to pour into you whatever it is you need. Without that time, how can He help you? Without solitude, how can He speak to you? You want Him to intervene in your situation, provide what you are lacking, bless you and your family but at what point in your day do you allow that exchange to occur? Make room for God to work in your life by settling yourself: heart, mind and body. You’re too busy trying to do everything, fix everything, be everything to everybody and He’s standing there, waiting for you to let Him in. He’s happy to take care of that for you, anxious to tell you what direction to go in and you, my friend, just don’t have the time. God is not a mysterious, theoretical being; He is as real as you and I. And because He is real, this real relationship requires your time.
I think for the most part, people don’t spend time with God because they honestly don’t know what it means. I know for me, I would often become disheartened when it came to spending time with God. There are days where sitting down to study the Bible just doesn’t happen. Some days are super busy and other days I come home from work and before I know it it’s time to get ready for the next day and go to bed. Not only that, it can be discouraging to see others who wake up at 4am for prayer or spend hours a day with God and know that you aren’t doing anything even remotely close to that. But I have learned that it’s less about what you’re doing to spend time with God and more about the sincerity of your heart. So whether I spend 10 minutes reading my Bible or 1 hour searching the Scriptures, I have spent time with God. Whether I’m reading a Christian non-fiction book or worshipping to Christian music while I drive to work, I have spent time with God. As I sit, writing this blog, I am spending time with God. None of it is meant to be compared to one another but they all have one thing in common; my heart and mind are centered on God. In each instance, I am allowing God the opportunity to commune with me without distraction. This doesn’t negate the importance of studying the Word but don’t focus on the wrong thing when it comes to developing your relationship with Christ by spending time with Him. The important thing is that you are doing something. Not just for Him, although He longs for that time with you, but for YOU. Life isn’t about going and going, God has offered you rest and you need to take full advantage of it before you burn out.
In all practicality, if none of this sounds remotely appealing to you, make small goals each day to read your Bible, pray, or do something else God glorifying and watch your appetite for it grow. I know how it feels for this to just not be a topic of interest for you; you just don’t feel like it. The Bible doesn’t make sense, worship music is boring…I’m sure people could list out excuses for miles and miles. But once you experience the spiritual growth and realize the difference in your day and attitude, you’ll be addicted to keeping it going. It may be a chore at first but soon you’ll find yourself desiring it. I made a commitment to read the entire Bible in 365 days and it changed my life. It was just a few chapters a day and I would read whenever I could; during breaks at work, sitting in waiting rooms, on the elevator, wherever. Sometimes things would happen and I would miss a day but I would always make it up. By the time that year came to a close I had a deeper understanding of the Word than I had ever had before and I enjoyed reading the Bible. It’s true, whatever you feed will grow and because I chose to nurture my appetite for the Word by committing to reading it, that desire grew. This desire and commitment isn’t limited to me or any other ‘seasoned’ Christian. We all desperately need this time, no matter what level of spiritual maturity we have acquired. So make a commitment to spending time with God or if you already are, to continue doing so. Because He loves you and because you need to. Make spending time with God a priority, He is ready whenever you are.