I have busy days when my quiet time simply consists of praying to God and reading a Bible passage.
Other days, when my schedule is open, God speaks to me in the leisure hours of the morning. I read several passages of scripture, reflect on God’s goodness in prayer and thanksgiving, meditate and memorize verses, and scribble pages of notes in my Quiet Time Companion. Sometimes I even have time to read other Christian literature which enriches my understanding.
Some mornings, I rush into the day with-out a moment’s pause. I pray here and there throughout the day and look forward to sitting with my Bible and pen in the evening or the following morning.
There is no right or wrong quiet time regimen. Granted, when I study the Bible and spend hours in prayer my understanding of God grows and worship is a delight.
But the days service takes a primary role, I worship God with my life and my actions. Paul says we can worship with our bodies—Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1 (NIV)
There was a time, however, I thought quiet times had to be done in the morning and required specific activities (prayer, Bible study, singing worship songs and hymns) in order to be considered a quiet time. When I succeeded to accomplish these items, I checked them off my mental to-do list and felt I had pleased God.
But, when I failed to accomplish all of them—or worse, skipped the quiet time altogether—I felt as though I had disappointed God. The guilt was compounded when I envisioned God waiting expectantly for me each morning.
Urgh! Those guilty mornings would pile up and make me feel horrible. Was I a disappointment, a bad Christian, unfaithful? Even when I did have a quiet time after a stretch of skipping, the guilt remained and weighed heavily on my heart.
Have you ever felt this way?
The Bible states very clearly, we have been saved by grace.
- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
Our sanctification (growth in Christ-likeness) is also a work of God.
- May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)
So, why did I keep trying to earn God’s favor? I didn’t fully understand God’s grace.
Like the Galatian Christians who thought they needed to add circumcision to their faith in order to be right with God. Paul set them—and me—straight!
- You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? …I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Galatians 3:1-3 (NIV)
These are good words because they remind me, I can never earn God’s favor by my works—it was and is by grace!
Without Jesus Christ, our Savior, we would still be dead in our sin. But thanks be to God! A great exchange took place on the cross. Jesus bore the wrath of God we deserved for our sin and we received his right standing with God (his righteousness).
So, my friend, be free in Christ and rely on his grace for your salvation and your sanctification.
- It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)