- I wasn't surprised that happened to me today. I didn't have my quiet time.
- It was such a bad day. I didn't have my quiet time.
- The devil got to me today because I didn't put my armor on in my quiet time.
- I goofed. I read the newspaper before I read the Bible. My bad.
- God lets me know that He's disappointed in me when I don't have my quiet time.
- If I don't have my quiet time in the morning, it doesn't count.
- Oops. I forgot to pray for so-and-so in my quiet time. That wouldn't have happened if I had prayed. I've apologized.
- If I don't spend at least thirty minutes in bible reading and prayer, I'm not spiritually ready to meet the day.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Guarantee #12: Quiet Times
Back in January on one of my posts I posted 12 guarantees that many people see in scripture. I have addressed eleven of those and today I'm writing about the last one which was listed as:
If I have a quiet time in the morning, I will have a good day.
This guarantee is held by many. They might not say they hold it as a guarantee but their many phrases would indicate that they do:
None of the above are guarantees. In fact, if you look closely at most of them, you will see that the emphasis is on what I do so that I can guarantee a result. That's just not true in scripture. The New Covenant teaches me that because Christ has done it all, I can be free and enjoy all the benefits.
The day that I realized that if I never have another quiet time the rest of my life that God will still love me and be close to me and never leave me and that was one of the most freeing days of my life. Then I could have a quiet time because I wanted to and enjoyed it and if I missed having one, nothing changed. Wow, what freedom is that?
There's a big difference in you have to or you are invited to. Another way to say this is this is an opportunity, not an obligation.
I use this often even in my business office. When we're gathering donations for something, I write the information and conclude it with: remember, this is an opportunity and not an obligation. You are invited to participate and you do not owe an explanation if you choose not to.
I suffer just a tad from ocd (obsessive compulsive disorder) in a casual way. If I hear I should do it, I will do it. If I start something, I have to finish it. I have to do the right thing. Are you surprised if I tell you Monk is one of my favorite TV shows? I laugh a lot at that because it's so funny and I so identify with the basic premise of that show.
My personal freedom comes from releasing myself from the have to's. One of the most freeing things in my Christian life is to realize God loves me and nothing I do will make Him love me more, and nothing I do will make Him love me less. It's settled: He is Love and He loves me and accepts me as I am.
I now think of a quiet time in my spiritual life as something like vitamins in my physical life. (I also take vitamins.) Do vitamins help me? I think so. Does taking vitamins guarantee that nothing bad healthwise will happen to me? No. Does taking vitamins guarantee that I will do better in my physical life? No guarantee, but maybe so.
No doubt that believers benefit from spending daily time in communication with God, through Bible reading and prayer. But to hold up that time as a guarantee that God has to honor and do what we think He should is to misuse and abuse the teaching of scripture. Of course, that's my opinion only. But, I think that's why you're reading this blog, right? You expected to see my opinion. ;-)