A New Year's resolution to faithfulness in a daily quiet time with God is common. Even if daily devotions are a habitual part of your routine, it can be helpful to review and renew your resolve to make quiet time a priority in your life. Let's look at that resolution in light of our three guidelines...
Make small daily exchanges, even for big goals.
The stated resolution? Make daily time in the Bible and prayer a priority.
If you're adding a daily time with God, you may be excited enough to try to get up early and get into the Word and prayer. That is a noble goal, and God wants to meet with you even more than you desire to meet with Him. He will give you the grace and strength to make daily time with Him a reality.
The real goal? To grow your relationship with your Heavenly Father to the point where the constant power and presence of God in your life is a reality and a joy.
We increase God's power and presence in our lives in two ways: private time spent in the Word and prayer and corporate worship and fellowship with those of like faith and practice.
Let's brainstorm some small, sustainable ways you could implement these two growth factors...
- Have a scripture portion sent to your mobile or e-mail each morning through YouVersion or a similar program.
- Keep a daily devotional book in your powder room reading material. A subscription like Days of Praise or a regular book like Simplify Your Spiritual Life: Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed have short readings that seek to grow your relationship with your Savior.
- Make a commitment to serve on Sunday that will help motivate you in your faithfulness to your local church.
- Keep your Bible open on your kitchen table.
- Don't log onto your computer until you've read your Bible.
- Do your Bible reading at night before you go to bed and write down 2 or 3 things to think about the next morning.
- Make up a Quiet Time basket that will give you a gentle visual reminder and extra motivation to set aside time with God.
Make exchanges whose input can be measured.
God only measures output. We can only control the input. Everything God measures in our life is the result of His grace working in and through us. With that said, we can measure our input in terms of faithfulness as long as we realize that God is not measuring the same thing. Many authors refer to time in the Word, prayer, and corporate worship as putting ourselves in the "paths of grace." We are intentionally putting ourselves where we know the Spirit walks and works.
The problem arises when we attempt to measure our spiritual walk by how well we maintain the spiritual disciplines. You wouldn't expect an Olympian to spend every day sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and watching T.V., but even the most dedicated athletes aren't guaranteed an Olympic medal simply because they worked hard every day. Nor do they award medals for faithfulness and dedication: that's expected of an athlete who wants to perform at the top of their game. God measures our spiritual maturity by our love, our control over our tongue, and many other metrics detailed in the New Testament -- not by our spiritual discipline. Without spiritual discipline, you'd turn into a fat, carnal Christian blown about by her feelings; but the discipline is only toward a higher goal, it isn't the end in itself.
Create or join a support and accountability group.
God already knew how much we'd need support and accountability when he set up the local church. If you made no other group commitment than faithful, active church attendance, you'd find your spiritual walk dramatically improved.
Because I believe personal time in the Word and prayer is so important, I tend to join groups of like minded women on private social media groups 3 or 4 times a year for a Bible study. I don't participate year round, but having that accountability and fellowship every couple of months is encouraging and inspiring.
Well, Sweets, I have to get school underway for the day. I've written several letters detailing different quiet time methods -- just take a peek at the letters filed under the Devotions tab to find one that fits the season of life you're in right now. Whether you're trying to re-establish the habit, or just looking to go "further up and further in," you'll find what you're looking for there.
Loving you greatly!