Flexing my Spiritual Muscles
Director of Discipleship
God loves variety. And the beauty of this is that He relates to every person in a unique way. So when someone tries to tell me that there’s only way to relate to God, I get annoyed. But there are some common factors that are essential for everyone trying to grow spiritually. The end goal for every follower of Jesus Christ should be to live fully in God’s presence 24/7. But I don’t know one Christian who hasn't tried and failed to do this by sheer will-power. Most have given up on this kind of life as an impossible dream, and settled for going to church, maybe being in a small group, and praying at meals or when the need crops up. But this isn’t the abundant, Kingdom life that Jesus promises us—and most of us are missing out on what we could be experiencing.
Are daily “quiet times” just something else to feel guilty about? I mean, if I’m suppose to live in the presence of God without ceasing, then what difference does it make whether or not I have regular times with Him in solitude?
God is my Personal Trainer
As I questioned the importance of having a regular quiet time with God, an image came to mind. I struggle with pain in my upper back—pain that the experts tell me is being caused by poor posture (and too much time hunched over a computer!). The remedy is weight training exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that hold my shoulders back and keep my spine in alignment. I could simply remind myself throughout the day (and I do) to stand up straight, but without those exercises, just reminding myself is futile. In the blink of an eye, my posture sags back into a caveman-like position.
But when I faithfully go to the gym and do my exercises, proper posture becomes almost effortless. By strengthening the muscles, my body maintains the correct position without conscious thought. And when that happens, the pain goes away, I feel better, and living my life becomes a lot more pleasant!
The same is true for regular times with God. At first, it is not easy and certainly not automatic to show up for one-on-one time with God. Every imaginable excuse pops into my head. Of course, our different stages of life allow us to have different experiences--a mom with small children won't be able to have the same time or experience as a retiree. But with determination, faithfulness and most importantly, with the help of God Himself, I CAN show up.
And when I begin to make this time (even a very short time), a habit, I slowly come to see the connection between my times with God and my ability to live my life in His constant, loving presence. It goes from being a chore I feel obligated to do to a loving response to the One who loves me the most—a time I don’t want to live without.
For more thoughts on spiritual growth and discipleship, go to http://fromheretomaturity.blogspot.com/