“If God is willing to live in our lives, is there not something almost blasphemous in mortals wondering if they can afford the time it takes to let Him in?” W.E Sangster (The Secret of Radiant Life)
Every person on planet Earth has an equal amount of hours in their day, in some ways it’s the great leveller of the human race. We’ve got the same amount of time as Beyoncé, Elon Musk and the Queen. Our time is so precious and how we spend it really matters. We can acquire more money, we can make more friends, but we can’t get more time. We’re stuck with 24 hours a day.
In church circles we may often speak about doing a ‘quiet time’* with God. This is referring to a daily time, this could be in the morning or in the evening, involving reading the Bible and prayer. These are important moments to invest in our relationship with God, to speak to Him, and to hear Him speak to us. What precious moments these are and I’d really encourage anyone who would like to grow in their faith to prioritise these moments.
But God is also interested in the other 23 hours of our day**. If God is Lord of our life then our whole lives matter to Him and He wants to be involved 24/7.
If we want our lives to be full of spiritual life and vitality then we cannot pin all our hopes on one hour a day given to God and 23 hours a day given to ourselves where we simply just do what we want without giving God a second thought.
We run into issues when we’re too dependent on our own consistency of that ‘quiet time’ time slot to get us through the day. There may be times when we’re too tired, distracted, or simply forget to spend our ‘quiet time’ with God. Obviously this is not ideal, but I know there have been times for me where I’ve missed my ‘quiet time’ and then I’ve assumed the rest of the day is a write off as I wrestle with guilt, feeling condemned and ashamed. These are pretty much the worst motivators ever.
The goal of a Christian is to know Jesus more and through quality time with Him each day you will learn to hear and recognise His voice throughout the day – these moments are indeed important investment moments in your relationship with God. Although, when you close your Bible after your ‘quiet time’ don’t close your eyes and ears to what God wants to do in those other 23 hours.
When you close your Bible after your ‘quiet time’ don’t close your eyes and ears to what God wants to do in those other 23 hours.Tweet
I’ve been on a health journey over the past five years since burning out in leadership, one of the big lessons that I’ve learned is that if you want to get physically healthy then going to the gym and exercising will help but it will only be an effective and sustained way of getting healthier if the other aspects of your life, such as diet, are also going in the right direction. If, on the way home from the gym, you always pick up a takeaway (Five Guys anyone?) then you’re not going to get healthier or lose weight even though you put in the effort during your one hour at the gym. Your physical health is dependent on how you spend the other 23 hours in the day outside the gym.
If we spend quality daily devotional quiet times with God for one hour a day and then fill the other 23 hours with stuff that is not good for our soul then we’re not going to have as healthy spiritual life and vibrant walk with God that we are actually wanting. Obviously, something is better than nothing but you get the point.
If we spend quality daily devotional quiet times with God for one hour a day and then fill the other 23 hours with stuff that is not good for our soul then we’re not going to have as healthy spiritual life and vibrant walk with God that we are actually wanting.Tweet
I often hear Christians admit they lack motivation in reading the Bible consistently or reading it enough, but I wonder if under the surface this has more to do with how they’re spending the other 23 hours of their day rather than just how they’re spending that one hour. For example, addiction to pornography will eat away at your desire to please God, having unresolved conflict with family or friends will hinder your prayer life, stuffing your face with sugary snacks and drinks constantly will affect your hunger for the Word. I wonder if there’s any sort of correlation between the volume of Netflix you watch and the amount of the Bible you’re engaging with?
I believe that God has given each one of us tasks, objectives and goals to do for Him. I believe that He doesn’t want to just turn the key and wind us up in our quiet time and then release us into the day to get on with it without Him like some wind-up toy car. I believe that He wants to partner with us, bless us, encourage us, pour out more of His love into us, shape us, and transform us, not just in one hour a day but also in the other 23 hours.
* I don’t love the term ‘quiet time’ and prefer ‘devotional time’ or ‘quality time’ with God.
** I’m not necessarily advocating for specifically one hour of quiet time a day, it’s just easier to write about, it could be 52, 17, or 64 minutes.
Take a moment, is there anything in your life right now in the other 23 hours of your day that is draining your passion for God and His Word? What would you like to see different?
How have you experienced God in the ordinary of each day? Share with us in the comments.
Thanks for reading, please share in the comments your reflections or any questions that you might have, I’d love to hear from you, Dan