Devotions, quiet time, Bible reading, God time, or however you describe making space for God do not happen accidentally. I don’t get out of bed in the morning and just happen to read my Bible. I don’t accidentally find I’ve memorized a Bible verse. I don’t find a quiet space in my home just casually or actually almost EVER! (if you have kids you know what I mean)
If I want to spend time with God I need to choose to do it
or make a plan to set aside time and space.
I was just looking at a sticker on the windshield of my car and noted that I’m about 1,000 km from my next oil change. So, when I get closer to that time I’ll make an appointment with my mechanic to get that and other items on my car looked after. Of course, that’s only every 8,000 km which is only a few times a year. But it’s necessary maintenance to keep my car running.
And spiritually I need more than a check a few times a year with a fill up of mechanical fluids. I need God’s input on my life all the time. So, just as intentionally I make an appointment with my mechanic I make an appointment with God. The cool thing is He’s never all booked up!
I set aside time often in the morning, but also sometimes in the afternoon or evening depending on what’s going on in my day. For many people, setting aside God time comes first and that’s a great way to do it! They set their alarm for a time in the morning to do devotions before their other obligations of the day kick in. If that’s you, good for you, that’s awesome!
personality and organization play a part
A big part of it for me is my personality and organization. I tend to do things differently on different days. But that makes it especially important that I set times to be with God since I don’t have a regular routine. And I mark God times in my calendar just as i do for other appointments. And I keep those appointments just like I do with other things in life.
Back in my young single days, I was a radio announcer on an evening show (7 to midnight) so my quiet time each day was between 1 and 2 am when i got home from my on air shift. I could have bagged out in front of the TV. But I chose to set that time aside for God. I wasn’t tired enough to sleep, it was quiet and so that became a part of my routine. There’s not much else to do at 2 am! But I still intentionally had to choose.
Do I ever set aside times of a day or longer?
Special times of God focus
Comparing specific God times to getting my oil changed every 8,000 km., makes me think of when I set aside special times with God. It could be a day or two away on retreat, taking a silent retreat or a time of fasting. I know some people who set aside a retreat with God once or twice a year.
It could be a pilgrimage to some place as a spiritual journey. Could be a set aside time to serve in a particular place or context. For example, we’ve gone on week or month long mission and service projects. Those are great times of serving, training and drawing close to God with long term impact. I’ve seen the direction of lives determined in times like that. But again they don’t just happen. Will talk more about that in future.
That kind of spiritual discipline give a different input and focus on God that I find especially helpful in my Christian life. And with the busyness of life, if I don’t set aside a day, week or a weekend for that kind of God focus then I won’t just find time for it.