The passion of my life and heart is time with Jesus, so I am starting from the beginning here by sharing with you what my quiet time looks like. Simple? Maybe. Obvious? Maybe. Profound? Definitely! Three practical components for me are (1) priority, (2) quiet, and (3) Scripture.
So, first, make God a priority in your heart (the center of your affective energy), and He will be a priority in your time. Most of us fail at this (myself included), because our hearts are “idol making factories” (Calvin) which will bow down to anything and everything else. The solution? Ask for the Father’s love (to lead you home), the Savior’s intervention (We need a rescue!), and the Spirit’s intercession (He will pray for you with groans that words cannot express). If God is not prime in your life, ask God to make Himself prime. If you are not passionately in love with Jesus, ask Jesus in His kindness to kindle this love. If your actions or priorities are not marked by the Spirit, ask the Spirit to root out lesser loves and plant new seeds of faith.
Secondly, sit down. In a quiet place. Free of distractions. Free of phones. In this day in age, quiet is hard to come by. Our world is filled with noise, rife with work objectives and escape options – a deluge of mind-numbing distraction. If necessary, plan an appointment, and ask God to help you keep it, a day or a week at a time. If you have to go sit in your parked car or hire a sitter to get away from your work responsibilities or your kids – do it. Find the space for Jesus by any means necessary. Skip a workout, pass up the TV show, wake up earlier (and go to bed earlier), cancel the lunch with the friend. In my opinion, EVERYTHING ELSE should come after Christ. Jesus first. Then all the things.
Lastly, start in the Word. Let Him speak to you first (through the pages of Scripture) before you speak to Him. Surrender anxious thoughts, consuming emotions and troubling circumstances, then open your Bible. Read until you are moved to worship. Systematic study should be the guide for your adoration, supplication, and confession. So, have a plan – any good plan will do. Pick a single passage for a week or a month. Pick a book of the Bible for a season or a semester. Or read through the Old Testament, the New, or the entire Bible for a year or two. Use a reading plan, or a study guide, or a sermon series. However you go about God’s Word, be methodical and consistent.
Priority. Quiet. Scripture. Easy as 1-2-3, right? Don’t I wish! Put on the full armor of God, and ask for God’s protection. He is doing battle in the heavenly realms to get you before His throne, and Satan HATES it! Satan also hates God, and, newsflash, HE HATES YOU! The enemy will do anything to keep you from the source of eternal life, infinite truth, and abundant blessing. He has waged a war full of lies to keep you from the power of the Almighty God. The evil one will numb, medicate, dull, distract, overwhelm and overcome you through intrusive thoughts, unchecked emotions, and unfavorable circumstances. Anything to separate you from the love of God in Jesus Christ! Time alone with God is not another item on your to-do list – it’s an all-out WAR! Make time! Find a spot! Open your Bible! Fight the good fight! Run the race!