This post is going to look familiar- yet different. It is the second article in a series of four. You can read the first one by clicking here.
In the last article, I left you with a need and no solutions. Really, I left you in the middle of an article.
I spoke about that need that I think we all have; the need to run to something. The Coke, coffee, or chocolate; the things we run to when the day gets stressful. The things that don’t last.
We agreed, right? We need Jesus. We need to run to Him. He WANTS us to run to Him. He wants to be our hero. He wants to fill all our needs. He wants to have a real relationship with us. Not a one-sided friendship. We agreed on that, right?
What do we do about this need we all have?
I wonder if you have been like me, just going thru the motions of life? Just letting the days pass without really thinking about your relationship with Jesus?
I have some hard questions for you to consider:
How is your personal relationship with Jesus? Do you have one?
How do you strengthen your relationship with Jesus? How do you nurture it?
Do you have time carved into your schedule, to spend time with Jesus each day?
Do you know HOW to spend time with Him?
These are questions we need to ask ourselves. We need to stop and consider… Seriously, stop reading and think about it.
If I was to answer those questions a few years back, I would have failed the test. I would have got an F. What about you? Where are you at with this?
As I began to realize my need for a Savior, my need for Jesus, my need for a real relationship I came up empty. I didn’t know how to get it. I didn’t know how. I had lies in my head about what I thought produced relationship. My lies weren’t working.
Here are some of lies I had, maybe you have too!
- First lie- I have to read a whole chapter of the Bible every day. (Check Galatians 5:1-12. A little bad attitude changes the whole loaf, likewise just a little good can go a long way)
- Second lie- I have to have a 20 minute formal prayer three times a day. (Read Luke 18:10-14 to get rid of this lie)
- Third lie- This is a checklist that I had do. Wrong! This is something I needed to do from the heart. (Read the story in 1 Samuel 15. He was doing what he thought was the checklist; yet he didn’t have a real relationship with God, so he disobeyed and was punished)
- Fourth lie- I don’t have time. This one might be true. YET I make time for what I want to do. I made time for laundry, and I don’t even like laundry! So surely, I had time for God. There is always something: Facebook, blogs, Instagram, too many projects, you can even be doing too much GOOD (making too many meals for people, visiting the sick, etc). If we do not have time to have a little quiet time with God, then we are too busy. Something needs to be taken out of our schedule.
- Fifth lie- I tend to be an all-or-nothing type of gal and the first time I would miss my new quiet-time routine, it ruined it; I quit. All or nothing. If a study was even a bit challenging, or I just didn’t get done on time, or I missed a day; I thought I was a failure.
I had all these lies in my head, things I was trying to do that I thought produced relationship. Yet I came up empty. Then, because I was one of those all-or-nothing gals, I quit because I couldn’t keep up with the standards I thought I had to live up to. More often than not, I just did nothing. Well honestly, I did more than just nothing, I had the one-sided relationship. I had requests and demands for Jesus, but never a two-sided relationship.
We talked about it in the last article. Jesus wants a two-sided friendship with us. Just as it is with earthly friendships-the same applies to us and Jesus. A good friendship takes work from both people. Time spent together, making memories, hanging out, talking, sharing struggles…you get the picture.
If we want a relationship to stand the test of time, we need to pour time into it.
If we want a relationship to stand the test of time, we need to take time to reconnect, when our connection is lost or strained.
If we want a relationship to stand the test of time, we need to take extra care to make it a priority.
If we want a relationship to stand the test of time, we need to be sure we invest in the relationship!
What about our relationship with Jesus? Do we do our part to invest in our relationship with Him?
We need to, I need to, because He is the most important friend I have!
Do you know what investing in a Jesus relationship looks like? Do you know HOW to do that? Do you know WHAT to do when you are spending time with Him? Me neither. At least I didn’t 5 years ago.
I think I’ve learned a little more what that looks like. I found something that works for me. Do I always practice what I preach? No. Do I always do it right? Nope. Do I always know what I NEED to do? Yep.
Do you have something that works for you? Do you have a quiet-time routine that you can really spend time with Jesus? If so, great! If not, let me show you what changed my life.
This quiet-time method started with a simple reading plan. There were 4-5 verses to read, then one verse to write. So in my journal I wrote the verse, then I journaled through a simple study method. Just focusing on ONE verse. You could do that, right? One verse! This was so easy! When I first started, I spent 5 minutes a day. (Could you spend 5 minutes a day with someone who wants to be your best friend?)
My journaling wasn’t always elaborate. It probably wouldn’t have been readable or make sense to anyone but me. Yet I was hearing Jesus’ voice. I was learning so much.
This got me into the Word of God. It was not hard. It was not a big deal. What it did though, is wet my lips; it got me thirsty for more of the Word. It got me wanting to learn more and more. It strengthened my relationship with Jesus.
As I said, I started out with just sneaking 5 minutes into my day. Easy, right? Soon I found myself reading more than the 4 verses in the reading plan. I read more, because I WANTED to, not because of the checklist I had to finish for the day.
Fast forward to now; I still use this method in my quiet time.
I follow a simple TAP acronym.
T=Truth (write the Bible Verse)
A= Action/Application (write an application/ action regarding this truth)
P= Prayer (write a prayer regarding this verse, or these applications)
Let me show you an example. The reading plan for one day recently said:
Read: 1 John 4:16-18.
TAP: 1 John 4:16.
So I read the 3 verses; here is an example of what I may have written:
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that
dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
If I Truly believe the love God has for me, I WILL have love dwelling in me. Ouch, do I always have love in me?
Lord, I pray that today I will remember to have this love in my heart. Love for the people
around me, love for the lost, love for my family, and love for Thee. Amen.
That’s it. It was easy. It works for my busy schedule. It works for times when I had 5 minutes, while the baby cries in her crib. It gives me a starting place when I have an hour to read more, cross-reference, and journal.
Maybe you too are looking for something easy. Maybe you too think a chapter is too overwhelming, so you don’t do anything. Maybe you are still searching, like I was, for something that is workable. Give this a try, and see if it helps your quiet time.
**This article was first seen Titus2Ministeries Summer 2016 Edition**