By: Emily Miller
My quiet time each morning is not the piece of the day I set aside for Jesus; rather it is the beginning of a day owned by God, lived for Jesus, and spent with the Holy Spirit.
God made me; He owns me. Jesus died for me; I live for Him. I am directionless, hopeless, and just very dumb, if not for the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding me through each moment of my life. These things are true and a Christian should be someone who lives for Jesus in their work, in their words, in their entertainment, in their relationships; people who live all of life as an answer to the impossibly beautiful love of God shown in the God-man Jesus Christ.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)
I believe this and yet, I can easily act as if I fit God into my life. That if I give Him 15 minutes of my day, go to church most weeks, and pray before I eat, then I’ve done my job as a Christian.
This is the danger of quiet time. We can start thinking of it as a duty to get done so that God is ok with us. (Maybe if you spend a whole hour God will even like you!)
We can think of it as a bargaining chip (I’ll give you ten minutes a morning and You give me three hours of Netflix). We can act like quiet time covers a multitude of sins (and only spend time with Jesus when we feel extra guilty about something).
We can forget to pray until trouble comes along (as if our quiet time is the only way God knows what’s going on with us).
Lies tend to work the hardest in especially significant areas of life and our quiet time is significant; but not because it makes God like us, do what we want, or forgive our sins. And it is also not because God needs us to let Him in on our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances. He knows.
…Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Matthew 6:8 (NLT)
So why is having time (preferably quiet) spent reading the Bible, praying, singing, and/or journaling significant?
There are several answers to that question. A few which come to mind are these: Throughout scripture we read that people who have faith in God meditate on His Word (Psalm 1:2). We see that the word keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11). Most compellingly, Jesus had a habit of withdrawing from the crowds and His disciples to spend time in prayer (Luke 5:16). In addition to these reasons, I’ve also found that starting my day studying the Bible reminds me to live the rest of my day for Jesus and with His help.
The main benefit of a quiet time with Jesus is that by spending time with Him; worshiping Him, telling Him about our lives, asking for His help, meditating on His written word, etc., we end up reminding ourselves of Who owns our life. We need this reminder every day, since we too easily forget that our life is His story and then try to fit Him in to (or shove Him out of) the story we’d like to write.
It used to be difficult for me to set aside time to read the Bible every day. Now, after working at this for about 17 years, something strange has happened: each part of my life reminds me of something I’ve read in the Bible. My quiet time didn’t nicely stay in its part of my day, rather it’s grown to fill more and more of my life. I used to be amazed when I found guidance and words for my life in the Bible; now, it’s more like the Bible is in me, shaping how I see all
of my relationships, feelings, and circumstances. By surrendering each morning to His will and meditating on His thoughts instead of being consumed by my own, I’ve leaned into the work the Holy Spirit is doing in all of us who are new creations in Christ. He is making us all to be all about Jesus (instead of adding a bit of Jesus here and there to a life lived as if it’s all about us).
What’s your motivation for having a quiet time? Are there any lies mixed in? Are you following Christ or fitting Him in? If you’re like me, sometimes the answers to those questions are a bit uncomfortable. So, this is what I’ll be praying for us as we keep dying to ourselves and living for our Savior:
I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself. Ephesians 3:17-19
Emily is a mother of two young children and has little time for much else. She began a daily quiet time at age thirteen, and her relationship with Jesus has remained a constant for Emily as she went from being a missionary kid in Mongolia, to working as a barista in Oregon, to marrying and starting a family in Florida. Emily enjoys writing poetry, dancing while doing housework, watching storms, and laughing at her husband, children, and herself.