Time with God. Would you like your time with God to be more powerful…more intimate…more personal…more life changing?
We have lots of opportunity to spend time with God in very specific ways…devoted ways. Yes, he is with you always. I’m not talking about that. I am speaking of those moments where you intentionally seek God.
Time with God in prayer.
Time with God in his word.
Time with God in your journal.
Time with God in worship and so on.
I am currently training for a Spartan Race this summer. Obstacle Course Races (OCR’s) such as The Warrior Dash, Tough Mudders and Spartan Races have become wildly popular. My son and I ran The Warrior Dash last summer. It was difficult but more of a fun, entry level OCR. Spartan Races demand that you actually be in shape. Therefore, I am losing weight, lifting and building my cardio. It pretty much sucks.
However, I learned something during a recent Fitness Blender workout that might transform your time with God.
I was following a youtube cardio workout when the instructor said something that got my attention. I don’t remember the exact verbage, but the message was “If you are going to spend the time to do this workout, make it count.”
At that point my high knees were pretty lame. I had to pick it up. I was setting aside twenty five minutes for this workout, I might as well make it payoff. Why spend the time, but not get the benefit. I started working harder.
Check out the Apostle Paul’s comparison of physical training and spiritual training in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
We are not to just run to run. We are not to train without aim. We push for the prize. We run to win. This is true in physical training as it is true in spiritual training.
If I’m honest, I tend toward spiritual laziness.
I’m disciplined enough to read my bible, pray a little and get to church, but do you understand that isn’t the point?
You are not reading to read, praying to pray or singing to sing any more than you run to run. Our time with God must have purpose. Our time with God must have intention behind it. And, here is the key:
You must express that intention to God.
We have all done it. Some people have done nothing else.
We show up at church, sing a few songs, listen to a message, go home and never draw near to God.
We open up our bible, read…maybe get drowsy eyed…press on a little longer and then go about our day.
We pray, name off our laundry list of wants, throw in a couple “Praise God’s” and get back to life.
That doesn’t work!
It’s like loafing it through a cardio workout. Just because you wore your Under Armor gear for an hour, you are not going to get results. You have to get those knees up.
Do you want your time with God to be powerful?
Name your intention. Tell God about it. Express it to him.
“Father, I am opening up your word today because I believe it is true and speaks the words of life. I want to get to know you better. These are your words that tell me about you and your plan. Please reveal yourself to me as I read the words of this bible. Help me to see what you are really like. Give me understanding. Help me to draw closer to you.”
“Father, I have gotten up early on this Sunday morning to come to this church because I want to grow. May the words of worship and the words of the message sink deep into my heart. Teach me with those words. Rebuke me with those words. Correct me with those words. Train me with those words. The desire of my heart is to live like Jesus. I am here this morning because I need your help. Help me to be attentive and use every moment of this worship service to grow in my walk with you. This is your time. I don’t want to waste it.”
Do you think going into a time with God like that might make a difference? It will. The key is the readiness of your heart. If you are going to give that time, really give it. It is so easy to go through the motions and feel satisfied that we did what we are supposed to do. We are lying to ourselves. It is spiritual slothfulness. It doesn’t please God and it doesn’t do you any good.
“If you are going to spend the time to do this workout, make it count.”