Let’s be honest.
At the end of a long day, sometimes the last thing we want to do is read the Bible. As we exchange fatigue for refreshment in labor’s wake, we often chill and defrag on our own terms…
…be it sunset walks. Exercise. Fireplace reads. Hot baths. Netflix. YouTube. I could go on…
Yet, while these options are appropriate at the proper times, per recent conviction, I’m concerned many of us have detached the Scriptures from this menu of items. And while I’m sure many of us understand the importance of meditation and prayer, as I’ll discuss in this post, we do our faith a disservice when we compartmentalize such sustenance from the rest we crave.
Accordingly, as a fellow bivocational hustler who’s regularly on the go, here are three ways we can engage quiet time with God in 2021.
1. Refresh Your Gameplan
In seasons of spiritual distancing, consistency in the Word can be a struggle. Knowing where to turn, where to start, where to continue…the lack of compass in general can be enough to deter a Scriptural encounter. Yet, while many resources will tell you how finding a quality Bible reading program will stabilize your faith, truth is: Life is less black and white and far more unpredictable than we think.
Dare I remind us: Overtime. Trainings. Meetings. Zoom calls. Traffic. Extracurricular small groups. Midweek church services. Educational endeavors. Benevolence/outreach opportunities. Family emergencies. Health issues.
No question each day is full of life as well as nuisance and troubleshooting. Still, within the snowflake tapestry of each day are rhythmic stretches where we can find silence and rest. They may not be long; heck, they may be fifteen minutes or less. Regardless of duration, dare to pray not only about the Bible reading plans God has for you, but also what tactical gameplans He wants to refresh as well.
As I learned last year, often God will refresh His intimacy with a new chapter as opposed to restarting it with a blank slate. Granted, it doesn’t have to be one or the other; sometimes a blank slate is a necessary predecessor to the ‘next’ God has for us. That said, don’t assume the answer to your quiet time strategy is something new and don’t strive for a Bible reading plan because it’s conventional. Rather seek the Lord and draw near. Inquire His plans and purposes concerning your engagement and understand God is after your heart more than your time. Remember while a sacrifice of praise is often a sacrifice of time for us, in God’s eyes, refreshing our gameplan can be the jumpstart we need to know we don’t have to carve out what He’s already gifted.
Bottom line: Before you prematurely dive into research, press into God’s heart and allow Him to reveal the pathways of discernment you’re to walk.
“For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.”
Luke 21:15 (ESV)
2. Bookend Your Day
They say each day is a journey, a quest for orientation amidst a jungle of chaos. As we all know, the ride can be turbulent, testing, sometimes downright fierce.
But again, no matter no how busy the calendar, how intense the load, there’s always room for God. And while the world says you have no room, you have no time, consider the fact this is how Jesus entered our humanity.
As John 1:14 declares, Christ is the Word become flesh. He lived among us so we could experience His glory as God’s Son full of grace, truth, wisdom, and understanding.
This tells me two things:
- Jesus not only came to save us as a one-time ticket to heaven but to continually draw us as ambassadors for heaven. As co-heirs with Christ, we were made for consistent fellowship with Him – a perpetual reality we should never take lightly.
- Just as we were formed by God’s words, so are we fashioned by His daily Word. As sons with a promise, we were made to discover joy through justification (restoration) and sanctification (refinement); however, one must wonder if the process of the latter can mature without consistent quiet time with God.
Whatever the case, may we be a people united in fixing our minds on what is right, our hearts on what is godly, and our discipline on what is everlasting. While God’s instruction may seem repetitive, understand the application is always unique to your calling and situation. Even when the days are dull, there’s never a dull moment in God’s presence given His sovereignty and encouragement are endless and always near.
Consider this: If our aim is to become more like Jesus, we must value exposure to His promises and purposes. Since His ways are perfect and infinitely higher than our own, it makes no sense to reach in God’s direction if our desperation isn’t rooted in intentionality. As long as we approach the Lord with humility, we can rest assured He will provide the blueprints for sustained Spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled life (see Ephesians 5; more on this in a future post).
Bottom line: For Jesus to be our daily bread, the Word must also be daily read. All the more reason to bookend each day in the truth of who God is.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~ Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
“I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” ~ Psalm 77:12 (ESV)
“The [Word] shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” ~ Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
3. Bookmark Your Inspiration
As simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to reference God is to set altars of gratitude at our places of influence. By altars I not only mean emblems with Scriptural citations but any physical prompt directing you to worship. For instance, you could have a picture frame, a poster, a small shelf of books at your desk…honestly the possibilities are endless. Whatever methods you employ, the point is not the system you facilitate but the heart of worship you propitiate.
Consider the reason you work:
Hence, why we should bookmark our inspiration and prepare our hearts to recall and call on God’s faithfulness as we effort for His glory. After all, who knows what kind of innovation and illumination awaits as we rely on Jesus who by His Spirit has given everything we need for goodness and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
Bottom line: To worship as you work is to anchor your devotion. Therefore, posture your heart and its surroundings to give pleasure to God.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
Cover photo creds: Mike Turner