. . .let us throw off everything that hinders (Heb.12:1b).
There are a number of things that can quickly quench a quiet time: sin,
self-centeredness and unresolved differences with another person, to name a few. And
though these hindrances must be dealt with, they are far less subtle than what hinders us
perhaps the most.
What calls us to be with the Lord daily? Is it our religious duty, our Christian
obligation or responsibility? Is it because if we do not, we feel guilty or maybe that we
just don't feel quite right throughout a day that we miss our morning Bible time? If it is
any of these, we may quickly find that our time we have scheduled for God has become a
dull, dry drudgery.
Many times throughout scripture, God calls His people to BE with Him. The whole purpose of
Christ's coming was to provide a way for us to be "reconciled" to the Father.
The context of scripture repeatedly uses language that conveys to us the message that God
wants a relationship with each and everyone of us. So why do we persist to chain ourselves
to ritual and religious acts.
Don't get me wrong, I by no means condone a lifestyle free of prayer and Bible study. And
that is not God's will for us. But it is no more His will for us to pray and read, read
and pray so that we can fulfill our Christian obligations. He wants us to experience Him
through reading His word, and through communicating with Him in prayer.
So why then do we regulate the life out of the relationship? Let's face it--how many other
relationships do we have where we get together with someone and say:
"OK, here's the plan: We will get together everyday at the same time
for twenty to thirty minutes. It must be before everything else I have to do so that my
priorities are right (no matter how awake I am). While were together, we will follow a set
procedure that I think will be sufficient to cover all the business that needs attention.
When I talk to you, I will use specific steps so that I don't forget something. We will
need to meet in the same place everyday so it will become a habit, thereby making it
easier as time goes by. . ."
How would you feel if you were the second party involved in this
relationship? If I was having someone telling me about a schedule like this, I would
probably be thinking, "Oh joy--I just can't wait to get started." I'm not trying
to sound critical of the efforts so many of us make to have a meaningful quiet time. I'm
sure God appreciates the effort. But can you imagine anticipating the time that you are
going to be with someone you love, and then when you get together they already have your
whole time together planned out--and that's the way they intend your time be together
every time you are together. It seems to me that we try so hard to have time with God and
to make it a habit, that we forget to show Him the consideration we would show anyone else
by simply asking, "What would you like to do today?"
We need our time with God each day. But we must remember we are not sitting down "to
do the bills," we are sitting down to be with a person. We are spending time building
a relationship, not meeting righteous duty or religious obligation.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [Jesus] entered into a certain
village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a
sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was
cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my
sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered
and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But
one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away
from her (Luke 10:38-42).