Monday, June 05, 2017


I received an email advertisement for a book that would teach me how to have a quiet time in a few minutes. The pitch was that it would help me get this important thing done efficiently and quickly. Over the years, I have seen many such pamphlets, articles and books. Some of these mean well in the sense of teaching someone to start spending time with God. Others are a misguided foray into legalism.

First of all, time with God is to be cherished. After all, the creator of the universe made it possible for you to approach him directly. No longer is the presence of God protected by stone walls and heavy curtains. Christ's death not only provided eternal life to you, it reconciled you to the Father, making it possible for you to have direct communion with him. Hebrews 9 tells us that Jesus' blood opened the way for us to come to the Father with no curtain to restrain us. With this great privilege, bought with the blood of Christ, we should seek to maximize our time with God, not minimize it. With the Psalmist, we should say "as a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." (Psalm 42:1-2) 

Second, treating time with God, the "Quiet Time" if you will, as something that needs to get done and out of the way is legalism. You are saying, in effect, a Quiet Time is necessary for me to be considered a good Christian, so I have to do it and check off that box. Therefore, I'll be efficient and get it done as quickly as possible. I'll do as little as possible. Then, I'll feel good about myself and I can tell everyone I have a daily quiet time.

Devotional books sometimes play into this. They give you one verse of Scripture, or even a few words of one verse, and a one paragraph application or inspiration. It is probably not the intent of most of those books for that one devotion to be the extent of your time with God, but many people assume it is.

In contrast to this, look at God's instruction to Joshua when he took over the leadership of Israel from Moses. God said "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it." (Joshua 1:8)

Psalm 1:1 picked up this theme. It says "blessed is the man...his delight is in the law of the Lord and on this law he meditates day and night." In other words, a blessed man or woman meditates on God's word all day long. He or she thinks about it, prays about it and loves it.

God required an Israelite king to write his own copy of the law. (Deuteronomy 17:18) He was to read in it all the days of his life. A good way to meditate on the Word is to copy it in your own writing. It forces you to concentrate on it.

People in this day and age are busy. Some of that you can control; some you cannot. We are told to be efficient, to use time management skills, to multi-task, and to get things done. But time with God is not a "git 'er done" deal. It is a privilege and a blessing. Therefore, let us not see how little time we can spend with God to satisfy our consciences. Let us see how much time we can spend with God and satisfy our souls.

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