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::d101:: ‘Time With God’

July 15, 2009

 

d101

“We’ve got to get back to the basics.”  Have you ever heard that phrase before?  Any good athletic coach or sound business entrepreneur will testify to the importance of focusing on the basics in order to grow and prosper as a team, a business, and even as an individual.  The Christian life is no different.  As believers, we need to routinely revisit the basics of our spiritual lives to perform a check up and make any necessary adjustments.

Why Spend Time With God?

As believers, this question seems to have an obvious answer  – “because we’re supposed to, that’s what believers do”.  However, I think the question deserves a deeper look.  God’s ultimate goal is that you and I would willingly become more like him, bringing Glory to him by reflecting his personality and his character in our lives – a Christ-like character.  That means that we really have to ‘get to know’ God on a very personal level; a relationship that would allow us to know him in depth and be affected by him in such a way that we begin to behave like him.  Relationships will only ever do 1 of 2 things – they will either grow or they will deteriorate.  One of the major factors contributing to that growth or deterioration is time. Having just experienced my first year of marriage I have realized that time with my wife is extremely important in order for our relationship to be healthy.  It doesn’t just support itself without nurturing effort from the both of us.  The same is true about a believer’s relationship with God.  It is designed to grow and ultimately be used to conform us to become more Christ-like.  Consider the words of Jesus:

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  John 15:15 NIV

Spending time with God is the first step towards developing the other spiritual habits we will cover in our Discipleship 101 section.  It will help to motivate and sustain us through the other habits.  God will begin to change the desires of our hearts helping us to focus on nuturing our relationship so that it will grow.  Some of us will move from a ‘have to’ to a ‘want to’ attitude while still others will move from a ‘want to’ to a ‘need to’ attitude.  That’s the type of growth God is interested in and perpared to nurture.

How Will It Change Our Attitude?

Spending time with God will lead to limitless changes in ourselves and in our lives.  I believe two of the most visible areas of change are our hearts and our minds.  Consider the words of Jesus:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  Matthew 22:37 NIV

The Heart – 

The Bible says that what comes out of our mouths is generated within our heart.  This doesn’t just mean what we say out loud but also what we think.  The heart and the mind are tied together within a believer and God puts the Holy Spirit to work on transforming both of them the very moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Once the process is started it will continue until we are reunited with Jesus himself in the fullness of his glory.  However, it is quite possible that we can cause this process to be sidetracked, backtracked, or even derailed for periods of time by our behavior.  Yet God is constantly there to offer his assistance in getting us back on track.  Consider the words of David:

Don’t keep looking at my sins.  Remove the stain of my guilt.  Create in my a clean heart, O God.  Renew a right spirit in me.  Psalm 51:9 NIV

“Here is my sin against you God, forgive me Lord and help me get back on track” might be how it would sound today, but the concept is the same.  Our hearts are the engines that drive our attitudes and the Holy Spirit works to make sure that engine is running properly.

The Mind – 

If our hearts are the engines that drive us, then our minds are the steering wheels.  The Bible is full of verses instructing us on what to think about, what not to think about, and how to handle the thoughts that enter our minds each day.  In fact, it says that we are to take “every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.”  Consider the scriptures:

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.  Psalm 119:104-105 NIV

God has given us the Holy Spirit who works within us to transform our minds.  Consider the words of Jesus:

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  John 14:26 NIV

Spending time with God opens us up to have our hearts and minds worked on by the Holy Spirit.  We can see from the scripture above that time with God results in a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and insight into the understanding of God’s instructions.

How Do We Do It?

Understanding what the word of God says is only half the process, application is the second half.  As Dr. J. Vernon McGee says “it’s where the rubber meets the road friends.”  So how do we spend time with God?  Certainly attending church, reading our Bibles, doing our daily devotionals, and praying are some of the staple suggestions for this application – but I’d like to suggest that doing anything with a focus on God is a worthy application in our lives if we keep 3 simple things in mind.

  1. Make Spending Time With God a Priority
    -The Bible says that where we put our treasures (our money, time, and energy) is a good indicator of what we feel is important in our lives and how we have our priorities set.  Spending time with God has to make it to the first position on the list.
  2. Take The Time Regularly
    -Taking time and making time are two different actions.  Have you ever been able to make more than 24 hours in a day?  Me neither.  Therefore if we are going to spend time with God we are going to have to take time, or sacrifice, away from something else we were going to do in our busy schedules.  It’s not as difficult as some may think.  Listen to Christian music, read another believer’s blog to see what God is doing in their life, write in a journal about all the things you wonder about God, go outside to enjoy the season and examine and wonder about God’s creation all around you.  Whatever you do, place your focus on God.
  3. Spend Time With God In Comfort Rather Than Guilt
    – There is certainly a time for confessing our sins to God which we’ll talk more about when we look at the spiritual habit of prayer, but it is also important to spend time with God with a desire to be awed by Him.  If we are motivated to spend time with God because we feel that we have to or else we will feel guilty – the excuses for why we can’t spend time with God will grow more frequent.  However, if we are motivated to spend time with God because we actually want to and enjoy it, our excuses will fade and our desire to spend more time with God will increase.

I want to encourage you to take a few minutes today and begin spending time with God.  He is waiting to sit down with you and reveal himself to you if you’ll just take that first step and give him the time to do it.

Feedback Request:

I’m very interested in how you ‘Spend Time With God’, so please take a minute to share by leaving a comment below.  Perhaps it is one of the staples suggestion above – attending church, doing devotionals, or praying – or maybe you’ve got another way you like to spend time with God.  I’m interested in either and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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