I want us to look at something this morning–something that we know to do but often don’t know how to do it:
Making the most of our quiet time.
From the moment we are saved, we are bombarded with declarations such as, “You need to get in God’s Word every day” and “You must have a good prayer life” and “You have to listen to God’s voice.”
I don’t know about you, but I honestly do not feel like I’ve received a lot of instruction in how to do this. If anything, my perfectionism takes over and believes that I have to spend time with God for at least thirty minutes to an hour every morning.
And you know what? There have been glorious, peaceful mornings in which I spent an hour with God–reading His Word, listening to His voice, praying to Him. I have experienced strings of several months in which tucking away into a quiet space with God for an hour was not only easy, but it was a time and space which I craved.
But what are we supposed to do on those days when we don’t have that hour within us? What do we do when our minds are too bogged down with the worries and concerns of the world or our heart is merely going through the motions of reading, praying, and listening, not really digesting or comprehending what it is doing? What do we do when we can’t even get out of bed?
We’re all human. We all experience times when our moods and energy levels are up, and we all experience times when our moods and energy levels are down.
Personally, in the times when I have been on the downhill, I struggle with the feeling that I must check off all the items on the Quiet Time to-do list:
- Read God’s Word
I may do most or all of these things, but my heart is never in the right place. It isn’t taking up the right posture. Sometimes it will realign itself a few minutes into my quiet time, but more often than not, it doesn’t.
And the reason it doesn’t realign is because I have adopted the mindset that believes quiet time is just another check off my to-do list.
These apathetic, mindless, unproductive quiet times get me nowhere. Not only do I feel shame because I am just a machine going through the motions, but I feel shame because I know God wants to spend time with me. I know He loves me. And that perfectionist side of me tries to lie and say that whenever I complete another mindless quiet time, God is angry with me and He loves me less.
So that makes me feel even more ashamed and obligated to step up my quiet time game even though I do not have the energy to do so.
Let me encourage you this morning. God will never love you less because you didn’t spend 30 minutes to an hour with Him this morning. Would He have loved that? Yes. But His unconditional love will never be conditioned based on how many minutes you spent with Him this morning or how many religious activities you managed to cram into your quiet time with Him.
All God wants is the broken pieces of your heart.
Psalm 51:17-18 says, “You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.”
Legalistic religion would have you believe that quiet time is about bringing about the equivalent of submitting an Old Testament animal sacrifice or a burnt offering. Religion would have you believe that you must follow all the rules and regulations surrounding quiet time for it to be considered quiet time. There is no other way.
But God–the God you have a relationship with through Jesus Christ His Son–doesn’t need animal sacrifices or burnt offerings anymore. That’s literally what Jesus came to get rid of. He was the last animal sacrifice and offering that would forever wipe out our sins.
All God wants of you is your broken and humbled spirit. Submit yourself before God (James 4:7-10). He wants to love you. He wants to give you rest. He wants to give you peace that passes all understanding. He wants to give you the Holy Spirit. He wants to guide you. He wants to watch over you and protect you. He wants you to know Him and love Him and praise Him.
And yes, He wants to spend time with you.
Spending time with God doesn’t have to be this complex algorithm that is repeated every morning though.
Some mornings, we will feel distracted. Off-kilter. Tired. Trapped in our to-do lists for the day.
And on these types of mornings, our praise level and desire to sit and meet with God isn’t very high.
But God meets us where we are at!
So if our level of praise is reading one page out of devotional, let it be sincere praise. If it’s reading a chapter out of the Bible and feeding off the truths God is revealing for us, let it be sincere praise. If it’s watching a 5-10 minute devotional video in bed because you just can’t seem to get up this morning but you want to spend time with God, let it be sincere praise. If it’s saying one small yet genuine prayer before rising from the bed to tackle the day, let it be sincere praise.
We don’t have to stretch quiet times to the point where we’re reading or listening or praying or studying without focus. God will meet you where you are at each morning, because all He wants is to spend time with you!
So don’t sweat the days when a prayer is all you can get out of your sincere and praising heart–for God, it is enough. You are enough for Him, the One who loves you and died for you because He loves you!
Praising God with a sincere heart,