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:
  • 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.
Those are just a few of the comments I've heard over and over and have had many of them said to me and taught to me as scriptural truths.

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. ;-)



Deborah Felts said...

Hi, Mary!
I am really glad to be reading this series and for your blog in general. I am learning that we short change ourselves by not facing things as they are. I have (and still do) "bumped by head" on this many times because I have embraced some of these very "guarantees." Your teaching has been an important part of my life since the late 70's when I was privileged to be in your Sunday School class for seminary wives. Those very teachings still serve me well today. THANK YOU, Mary! - Deb

Debbie Kaufman said...

And this post today is the bottom line isn't it Mary? I used to be one of the above myself before I understood what the Bible actually teaches. We reduce Christianity to superstition don't we? Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this series. People need to know this, unfortunately the very things you have pointed out are taught in the church today as Biblical.

I was so sorry I could not be there to see you and Paul yesterday. New grandchild whose mother needed my help and a cold kept me away. I watched live though. Great sermon from Paul.

Rebel4Reality said...

Hey, Debbie F, How great to hear from you and to have you comment on my blog. We love getting your Christmas letters and staying up with what's happening with you and Bob and your family. Also, Paul answers my many questions after he's been with you guys in a meeting. This post is the last in my little mini series. I'm open for suggestions of things of interest to write about. Got any?

Debbie K, And we missed seeing you. We had a great time at Emmanuel, but then we always do. You guys are a great group of people and always make us feel so welcome. I met some people I hadn't met before and was surprised at how many said they are reading my blog. I suggested they might post a comment sometime, but almost all said they had never done that, they just liked to read. It was encouraging that many might be reading. I like writing these posts. Kind of fun to be back in the sharing mode. I always appreciate your comments and really enjoy reading your blog.

Brett & Kelly Burleson said...

Hey Mom,

Thanks for sharing. You always post on our blog and just as I was finished reading this (I had read the whole series over the course of two days) - I thought to myself (as I was moving on) - "I better put a comment to let Mom not only know that I read the series, but how GOOD it was". So here I am - this is really good! Thank you for sharing. I'm free, free, free....

Love you tons, BRB

Rebel4Reality said...

Hey, Brett,
Thanks for stopping by and for posting. I'm thoroughly enjoying your and Kelly's posts. I check every morning. And, thanks for the compliment about my posts being good. That means a lot. And aren't we glad we're free. Free as individuals and so free as a family. I highly recommend our way of living. ;-)