[28APRIL2012] Eastertide Devotional Series
I will be posting this devotional series as part of my Eastertide reflections for the next three weeks (see this link for other installments in the series). Each week of this devotional series focuses on a specific theme (week one: brokenness, week two: repentance, and week three: renewal). I hope you’ll enjoy the series and I invite you to comment here on the blog or email me direct; I would love to hear your thoughts.
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
There is no substitute for “alone time” with God. I think most Christians might agree with this statement, although how we interpret that “time alone” with God might be up for discussion. It might be argued that time alone with God could look very different from person to person, but I’m not convinced that argument is true.
It used to be that I considered my devotion to God as time that I spent doing things for Him. My participation in and with ministry activities accounted for the majority of my time spent with God. Considering there are only so many hours in a day, I wasn’t left with much time remaining after I devoted time to ministry “doing,” employment, daily chores, family time, eating, and sleeping. It was easy for me to justify my acts of ministry, church attendance, and small group as my time with God. If I am honest with myself though, I realize as profitable and God-glorifying as those activities may be, they are still not a substitute for time spent alone with God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes; “We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror.” There simply is no substitute for devoted, intentional, silent time, alone with God. It is in this space, alone with Him, where we learn to hear the intimately personal Voice of God. Oh yeah, and as much as I wanted for it to count…my daily commute to work didn’t really qualify as the alone quiet time my soul needed with God; not that I couldn’t pray and/or worship on a work commute or long drive alone, but the distraction of attentive driving precluded devoted attentive listening to God.
Following a number of years of this faithful devotion, I realized the passion and fire of my faith was lacking. I was pretty much on autopilot and going through the motions of religion without much of a relationship with the God of my religion. Oh, I was a good person who was doing good things and I was surrounded by other good people who were doing good things. I’m relatively certain my salvation was secure during this season of life, but there really wasn’t much life in this season, at least not the abundant life that Jesus promises us. I was busy all the time, tired most of the time, and always feeling as if the rest and peace of God were always just out of reach. It pains me to admit this, but I would often claim to be living and experiencing the peace and joy of God, but more often than not, my words were empty faith claims. Around the year 2005-06 I started making silence and solitude with God a top priority in my life. As this has become a faithfully practiced discipline over my past six plus years, I now realize and live in the place of God’s rest, peace, and joy. The times when I fall short in my devotion of solitude with God, I quickly begin to unravel and resort to my old practices of hurried and harried living.
Reflect on and examine the schedule of your life; do you have margin for spending extended quiet time alone with God? When was the last time you spent extended and regular time alone in His presence?
Our Prayer: Father God, I miss You. I know that I could be more devoted in the time I set aside to sit at Your feet and enjoy Your presence. I’m sorry for making excuses and justifying my busy-ness as a reason for not getting alone with You. I pray that You would guide me and help me to reevaluate and reorganize my schedule, so I can make “alone time” with You my most valuable priority. Amen.