HOW TO HAVE QUIET TIME
A Quiet Time is an opportunity for you to have an unhurried time of fellowship with God. This term describes the practice of having a daily appointment with the Lord, a time of communion with God through Bible study, meditation and prayer. Your objective is an intimate time of fellowship with God.
Vance Havner wisely stated, “Jesus knows we must come apart and rest awhile or else we may just plain come apart!” Augustine wrote, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in You. “
How would you characterize your quiet time? Unfortunately, far too many Christians experience drudgery rather than delight. Remember that Christianity is not simply a religion but it’s a relationship. If we love someone, we want to spend time with that person.
I have discovered that people often experience three stages in their spiritual walk:
- The first stage is the castor oil stage – you know it’s good for you but it’s not pleasant – it’s a “have-to” rather than a “want-to”. Fortunately you don’t need to stay in this stage.
- The next stage people often experience is the shredded wheat stage (I’m not talking about the frosted mini wheats but the plain ones that remind you of styrofoam). These don’t taste bad but it’s not great – it’s just okay. God however, doesn’t want you to remain at this stage.
- The third stage is what I call the ice cream stage. This is what the Psalmist had in mind when he said, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
So how can you experience the third stage? What does it look like to invest time with God? Here are three guidelines that may help you in developing a quiet time:
1. Come with a humble heart
If you think that you do not need to meet with God, then you’re not inclined to make a quiet time a priority in your life. If you believe you can do life on your own without God then you think there is no reason to meet with God and gain His direction for your moral compass. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .” it is the humble ones who receive the grace of God.
The Psalmist cried out to God recognizing his need to gain God’s direction, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).
2. Read with expectancy
Expect that God will speak to you through His word. Prayer is not a monologue, rather it’s a dialogue. God’s word has the ability to transform your life (Romans 12:2)! I keep the following questions at the forefront of my mind as I read His word:
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there an example to follow?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a truth to believe?
The prophet Jeremiah understood the power of God’s word:
Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock? (Jeremiah 23:29)
Realize that the Bible, the written word of God, reveals Jesus, the living Word of God.
3. Go do what God says
In the North American church our problem is not a lack of information but rather a lack of obedience. James writes,
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. (James 1:22)
It is not enough to know the guidelines, you must put them into practice. In the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson and Carol S. Dweck the authors reveal that we must count the cost as we undertake a new way of living.
Women who imagined that the path to weight loss would be easy lost an average of twenty-four pounds less than those who imagined themselves having a hard time resisting temptation . . . No matter who they are and what they are trying to do, we find that successful people not only have confidence that they will eventually succeed, but are equally confident that they will have a tough time getting there.
If your quiet time is not an established habit in your life (see The Power of Habit) you need to build that discipline into your life. Oswald Chambers writes,
When we first begin to form a habit, we are fully aware of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and godly, but this awareness should only be a stage we quickly pass through as we grow spiritually. If we stop at this stage, we will develop a sense of spiritual pride. The right thing to do with godly habits is to immerse them in the life of the Lord until they become such a spontaneous expression of our lives that we are no longer aware of them. Our spiritual life continually causes us to focus our attention inwardly for the determined purpose of self-examination, because each of us has some qualities we have not yet added to our lives. (My Utmost for His Highest, May 12).
A quiet time is beneficial for your life, but you need to remember that not only do you need to meet with God but that He wants to meet with you! It’s a tragedy to make Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls. If you want to walk with God you must learn to talk with God.
He’s waiting for you . . .