As I reflect back on the ebbs and flows of my spiritual journey, one constant has been spending daily time with God, reading the Bible and talking to God in prayer. Sometimes I awaken in the morning and can’t wait to spend that time alone with Jesus. Other times I get up and sit down to spend time with him, not because I’m eager to, but because I know that if I don’t I’ll drift away from an intimate relationship with him.
This morning I was pondering, “How does one change from a ‘have to’ attitude to a ‘want to’ attitude when it comes to spending time with God?” In Psalm 42, the sons of Korah describe their longing for God like a parched deer, thirsting for a cool drink of water. They draw the parallel with these words, My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2
My wife Brenda, describes a time in her spiritual journey that she began praying Psalm 42:1-2 as a request for God to change her desire to be like that of a deer panting for a refreshing stream of water. She says that one day she realized that God had changed her “have to” to “want to” as a result of those prayers. And now, years later, I observe that continued soul-thirsting after God as she spends time each morning reading and meditating on the Word.
I’ve heard some say that we shouldn’t push ourselves to spend time with the Lord if it isn’t a delight. I disagree! I’ve discovered that you can’t “feel your way” into longing for God, but rather, developing the habit of daily time in the Word and prayer, accompanied with a prayer that God will develop the spiritual thirst in our soul, results in a new longing and increased intimacy with the one who is the lover of my soul.
Here are a few questions to evaluate (with honesty!) your motives in spending time with God:
- What do I believe about spending time with God?
- Do I feel guilty when I don’t read my Bible daily? If so, why do you think that is?
- How would my relationship with God be different a year from now if I spent regular, daily time with him?
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
May God increase our delight in his presence!
Pastor Dave Stewart