Giving God Time to Speak

God gives us seven days each week.

The real question is, how many days do we give Him?

For years, I gave God a few hours on Sunday. But honestly, that was more of a social obligation—a chance to see and be seen. We saw familiar faces, sang a few songs, and listened to a message. Aside from church, I attempted to read my Bible each morning, say a prayer or skim the latest devotional, but those efforts always ended with my frustration over my inability to maintain good habits. We added a couple of hours during the week for small group, but that felt like a half-hearted attempt at something we were “supposed to do”.

The funny thing is, I loved Jesus—for real. I wouldn’t have denied it if someone had asked me. But the truth is, my spiritual life was built on my effort instead of my affection. An honest assessment of my heart would have provided a clearer picture. I was concerned with doing the right things, but my affections were focused on building my career, working on my physical fitness or keeping up with my fantasy football roster.

When I closed my eyes at night, I worried about our finances, my kids health and how exhausted I was from the daily grind. In those moments, I began wondering if the system I had created was enough? Was this it? Is this how the rest of my life would be lived?

God, are you really there? And, do you really speak?

Longing for More

A few honest questions followed by a refusal for the status quo sent me on a five-year journey into Wonderland.

In the past five years I have devoured more content, written more words, said more prayers and spent more time talking with God that in my previous thirty-two years combined.

When I try to put my finger on what triggered it, it leads me to two conclusions. One is pain—difficult circumstances that made me aware that my own understanding wasn’t enough to sustain me. And the second was a byproduct of the first—a genuine hunger for more.

Not only have I learned that there is more, I’ve learned that God is so much greater than I had imagined. Beneath my facade of religiosity God desired a real relationship—with ME!

As I’ve pressed into that relationship, He’s helped me become a better husband, father and friend. I’ve seen gifts and talents emerge that had been previously hidden by obligation. And, I’ve left the life I once knew to follow a God that lives outside the confines of any building.

If you find yourself in a season of wanting more, here are three things you should consider.

1. What Man Says About God Isn’t Enough

Early on, I adored great pastors and popular faith-based figures.

It began with guys like John Maxwell, Andy Andrews and Zig Ziglar—faith influenced their work, but it seemed to stop there. I transitioned into Andy Stanley, Tim Keller and John Piper. These were preachers and pastors whose messages began to unpack the gospel in a deeper way. I still wanted more, so I began reading old writers like C. S. Lewis. Then, I was turned on to guys like George Mueller and Andrew Murray—men who lived more than a hundred years ago and whose writings presented a level of faith that was uncommon and inspiring.

But beyond these great men and their writings was the God that created them. And just like these men, I had access to that God. Rather than be consumed with what men said about God, what did God say about Himself?

Once I began believing that God would speak, He did.

As I read His Word from a fresh perspective—a perspective that expected Him to show up—His Word became alive.

Yes, you should read the great writers but don’t forget that the God who made them great can and will speak to you directly if you’ll invite Him to do so and learn how to hear His voice.

2. Give God Time to Speak

Most people say that they don’t have time for God. The truth is, they just don’t have a genuine interest.

The bottom line is, we make time for what we truly value and excuses for what we don’t.

Are you giving God time to speak?

For me this happens early in the morning. It began by waking up at 6am and giving God fifteen to twenty minutes each morning. Then, I wanted more time with Him so I began getting up at 5am. Then, I began going on prayer walks to start my day. Before long, my spiritual life was simply a way of being or a mode I lived in.

A prayer that helped my development was this:

“God, remove everything from my life that resists you and increase the things that you would have me pursue.”

That prayer was scary at first, but I realized that everything I was holding on to wasn’t worth the time. In fact, the most valuable moments were the ones I gave to the Lord. Why not give Him all of them?

3. Don’t Go at it Alone

While we can and should experience God in the intimacy of a one-to-one relationship with Him, it’s necessary to be engaged in community. Of course this is the difficult part because it’s the part that I idolized for years. Churches and small groups and Bible studies are great, but we must be on guard. They can and will replace God is we let them.

When our communities become rote habits that replace our individual pursuit of God, we need to recalibrate.

In my own life, I found great transformation in one-to-one discipleship and that’s why I’ve dedicated my work to extending that to those who are interested.

As an organization, we offer a discipleship process that includes daily encouragement, fellowship and one-to-one mentoring.

Regardless of where you find it, get plugged into a community that is genuinely invested in your spiritual transformation and one that is willing to spend the necessary time with you to see it carried out.

I’ll end where I started:

God gives us seven days each week.

The real question is, how many days do we give Him?

MH

 

YouPrint is a faith & personal development organization aimed at helping believers bridge the gap between Sundays. To learn more about our organization or to connect with us, visit www.youprint.life

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