Christian Living · Knowing God · The Word of God

How do we Spend Time With God?

 

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Beth Moore set off a hot debate this week when she wrote, “spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing… we can grow in facts and never grow a whit in faith.” I’m not familiar with Moore’s work, and I don’t want to spend this post criticizing her statement, especially since I am ignorant of her overall teachings. In light of the firestorm sparked by her comment, however, it is important to consider this question: What does it mean to spend time with God?

There are four aspects of “Spending Time with God” we ought to consider:

Quiet Time With God

“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while. For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.”

~ Mark 6.30-32, ESV

This passage in Mark 6 describes a time when Jesus and the apostles took some time to rest and refresh after an extended period of work. If we continue reading the chapter, however, we see this respite was short lived, as people pursued them to their desolate place and Jesus fed five thousand men (plus women and children). Further on in verse 46, we see Jesus take time to be alone and pray with God.

Jesus recognized the necessity of alone time with His Father. He actively pursued this time, even though—like a young mother with children—people were pounding on the door with rumbling stomachs. Like a young mother, he had compassion on them and fed them, even though they had interrupted his precious time of quiet with the disciples.

Pursue quiet time alone with the Father, even if you only get five minutes. Minimize distractions (like your phone) and take some time to read God’s word, pray, or simply meditate on Him. Since I homeschool and my kids are “too old” for naps, I have an enforced quiet time so that each of us has time alone and time to do something quietly. I sometimes use this to catch up, but I love to use it for study. Early mornings, before everyone is awake is even more ideal and I use this frequently.

Find a way to be alone with the Father for deeper prayer or study.

Listening to God

Quiet time is valuable, but often elusive. The demands on our time feel ceaseless. Learn to incorporate time to listen to God’s Word and pray—even when our hands and feet can’t stop moving.

Audio bibles have been a life saver for me since there are days when my “quiet time” is eaten up with unforeseen demands (like a dog throwing up on the carpet). I can listen to the bible while scrubbing a rug, folding laundry, washing the dishes. or on the way to the gym.

However you incorporate bible reading, make it a priority. This is not an academic exercise, but an opportunity to learn about God and His will. We cannot have a relationship with God if we fail to listen to His words. Be creative in incorporating His word into your day.

Talking with God

A good relationship requires both listening and talking. Prayer is an opportunity to express our gratitude to God for his provision. In those precious moments, we lay our needs, fears, worries, and joys before the throne. I’ve even found myself sitting silently, unsure how to say what I’m feeling, but my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude that He is listening to my unformed words, knowing exactly what I need.

Like bible reading, prayer gets interrupted by sudden emergencies—hungry tummies, broken glass, disruptive dogs, UPS packages, or even falling asleep. Prayer is not always a formal affair. You can pray whether chaos abounds or the king asks you why you are sad, just as Nehemiah did. Whenever my heart seizes up with anxiety, I silently pray my fear to God in that very moment, even if I’m surrounded by people. Pray your way through the day.

Walking With God

In modern medicine, the body is compartmentalized into different departments like neurology, endocrinology, cardiology, etcetera. Some doctors who focus so heavily on one aspect of the human body that they attempt to fix a single problem without considering its affect on other body systems. While we can categorize the different systems of the human body, a doctor cannot work on one system without impacting others. We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

In a similar way, we cannot put God in a box. God should not be a mere part of our life; He should be our entire life. He is not limited to the walls of church buildings, nor does he somehow pop up like a genie out of the pages of our bibles. He isn’t walled in by earth’s atmosphere or confined to a period of history. God is everywhere at all times.

Whether cooking, teaching, writing, working, playing, or visiting, God is with us and within us in every moment. Time with God should not be limited to our “appointments” with Him. If I walk through my day aware of His presence, how will that affect my choices?

  • How will I handle an argument if I know God is listening?
  • How will I train my children?
  • What will I post on Facebook, knowing God can read what I type?
  • What manner of person will I be knowing that God is right beside me, knowing my every thought, hearing every word I utter, and seeing every expression on my face?

God is ever with us, but do we acknowledge His presence or do we treat Him like a servant, demanding that He come and go as it suits our needs?

Spend time in quiet. Spend time in prayer. Spend time in the word. Above all, spend your life with God. In every season, in every breath, live in the awareness of His eternal presence.

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…”

~ Acts 17.24-27, ESV

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20 thoughts on “How do we Spend Time With God?

  1. Elihu, as always, you have done a wonderful job of combining Biblical wisdom with practical application. I always walk away from your posts feeling I have something I can put in my toolkit and use daily.

    Many seem to have huge issues with Beth Moore for a lot of reasons. She is actually a Southern Baptist, so on most things, I would say she and I match pretty close. We are probably a bit more conservative than her, but that’s okay. I think some think she has stepped out of bounds on some issues. As in maybe too cozy with some faith traditions that might not be as straight and narrow as a good Southern Baptist ought to be. Also, some questions about her seemingly coming across as a pastor or preacher, teaching men, and some other things have caused her problems from what I understand. Our ladies did a video Bible study she produced, and all reports were that it was excellent.

    Her statement:
    ““spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing… we can grow in facts and never grow a whit in faith.” “
    I have not read a thing about this controversy, but I bet folks are hollering and accusing her of promoting extra-Biblical revelations or something. Of course, if she was, I would be the first to turn away from her. However, I cannot actually see anything wrong with that statement as written; she has actually stated a fact. I am a Missionary Baptist, and we are so conservative that we think the Southern Baptists are flaming liberals for the most part. I exaggerate, but not by much.  We actually fancy ourselves to be the keepers of correct Biblical Doctrine; Doctrine matters hugely with us. I am all for it; I am glad there are places where Biblical truth is defended with no holds barred.

    Having said that….sometimes in our efforts to be(in our minds,) the true defenders of the faith, we have lost sight of exactly what the point is. While study is a hugely important thing, the amassing of Biblical of Biblical knowledge is not the goal of the process. The goal is a deep personal relationship with our Savior. I really think she was just trying to relay that. If so, folks might lighten up a bit, and then read something like your post and learn some ways to develop that relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean! We need to be careful before assuming and concluding. I take what all teachers/writers/pastors/preachers say with caution. I’ve learned much from listening, but the greatest value is in persistently pursuing God’s truth. I recently discovered I had misunderstood a verse for years, and it was just by digging deeply into the context.

      I try not to write people off who follow a different faith tradition, nor do I accept blindly those of my own faith tradition. While I’m firmly convicted in standing up for truth, and I am equally convicted that I must maintain an attitude of humility, lest my own pride lead me away from God’s purpose.

      I wish people would think more before reacting with such vitriol.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well said! I followed some of the recent controversy over Beth Moore and it was a bit comical. It began with a statement from a Christian publication about how the bible was the only valid word of God and so we should just be “married to our bibles.” So some people objected because actually we should really be married to Jesus. Our bible is a vehicle for knowing Jesus. It was a bit comical because people were making fun of this literal marriage idea, posting pics like, “here I am on my honeymoon with my bible.” Moore stepped into that bees nest and caught the backlash.

    When I was a young mom, I would literally go stand in the closet and catch two minutes of quiet time with the Lord. I still do that today, what began as an act of desperation, has actually become some real wisdom. Standing in line at the store, stressing out at work, just stop and literally take two minutes to talk to God, say His name, say the Lord’s prayer, whatever works for you. Two minutes can change your whole life, your mood,your perceptions, your attitude. Give yourself a timeout. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have really tried to make it a point to spend quite time with the Lord in the morning it is such a great way to start your day.. Also I have started keeping a little notebook in my purse because when people tell me they have a prayer request sometimes I forget unfortunately so I write it down because I don’t want to say I’ll pray for you and then not follow through with that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lynn! I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. I thought I had but I must not have hit “post.” I remember a preacher once saying that someone had asked him, “why do you keep preaching fundamentals?” He replied, “I have three reasons: 1) fundamentals are foundational, 2) there may be someone new to whom this information is unfamiliar, and 3) it’s an opportunity for the “experienced” Christians to gain insight into how to teach others.

      So glad to have your encouraging comments, Lynn! I have missed you while you’ve been on your blogging sabbatical. Blessings to you. 🙂

      Like

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