Do you ever feel you don’t have the time in the day to spend time with God? Or that you have nothing left at the end of the day? We live in a fast-paced, hectic world. It seems like everyone around us is going a mile a minute, and a very common response to the question of how are you doing is: “I’ve been extremely busy.” It almost seems like we are working ourselves to death. In college, we are going from activity to activity, and when we finally make it to the end of the day, it feels like we survived a whirlwind. As college students, we have the most free time we’ll ever have, but we also tend to fill every second of it and in turn, have no down time. This leads us to spend time always surrounded by other people, but we seem to neglect finding time to spend with God, alone. A lot of times we tell ourselves we will spend time with Him later in the day, but it never happens. We get in a habit of trying to grow our faith from quotes and Bible verses from Twitter instead of going to God’s entire word where the psalmist says we will grow “like a tree planted by streams of water.” Why do we think we can have a relationship with God outside from spending time in His Word? If we say we are Christians, the one constant in our daily schedule should be time with God through His Word and prayer.
I became convicted of my apathy toward spending time with God while listening to Andy Mineo’s song Death of Me. Andy is a Christian hip hop artist who God has given the gift to share honest, transparent truth in the form of great hip hop music. He will blow your mind with his skill while rocking your heart with truth. In this song, he is describing how his life has changed over the past couple years. He is now on the road almost full time with a growing career, and what does he choose to rap about: how he fears he is losing himself in the midst of it all, especially his relationship with God. So maybe you feel you’re losing yourself in the midst of a crazy busy lifestyle. If you are, I wanted to elaborate on what I learned from Andy’s story and share some ways we can change this pattern in our lives.
“Jesus retreated to speak with his Father
I know that I need it
My career been growing
But tell me where I’m going if my time with God is depleted”
This is where we must start whenever we examine our life: looking to the example of Jesus. During Jesus’ ministry, people were always wanting to spend time with him. Many times in scripture, we see people following Jesus everywhere he went. Whether it was asking him to heal them or simply to hear him talk, wherever Jesus went, there was a crowd. There was not much time for Jesus to casually slip away to a coffee shop and spend time with his Father. So what did he do? In Mark 1:35 it says, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” It also says in Luke 6:12 that, “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Simply put, Jesus left his daily routine, the crowds, and his schedule to spend time with God. Not just for short periods, but some times, the whole night.
No matter how busy we are, we probably don’t have the crowd surrounding us that Jesus did, but we do have the same need that he had: a need to commune with God. For us this will look different than Jesus, but the concept is the same. We might not have crowds following us, but we might have friends and roommates we are always with. This is how it is for me, and for the longest time, I thought it would be weird it I told my friends I couldn’t hang out for an hour because I needed to get in the Word. But once I did it, I realized how understanding they were, and what great conversations it can start. If we see another brother or sister spending time with God, it will motivate us to withdraw from the business of the world to grow our relationship with God.
Do We Talk More about God or with God?
“God, I’m sorry, I mean it
All I want to do is walk with you but
My priorities wrong,
I talk about you more than I talk with you”
This line hit me real hard. I tend to have many “God-centered” conversations throughout the day and even talk about God in the midst of ministry, but although God desires this of us, he desires much more for us to spend time with him personally. When we talk about God more than spending time with him, it is like a husband talking about how much he loves his wife but never making time to spend with her. God desires us to share what we learn from him, and for us to share our faith with others. But if we talk about God without spending time with him, there is no substance behind our words. Zechariah 8:16 says for us to, “speak the truth to one another,” but how will we know the truth if we never read it for ourselves? God desires for us to live off of his words, and not just our own opinions, or the opinions of others.
One trend as college students is for us to talk about opinions of famous pastors or authors like John Piper, Matt Chandler, or C.S. Lewis more than actually talking with God ourselves and seeing what God has to say about himself (this is from personal experience). A lot of times when talking about our faith we use them as evidence why we believe a certain truth, but we need to know and discover these truths for ourselves. Instead of drawing from someone else’s experience, we need to spend time with God and tell others what he has been teaching us. When we spend time with God, our conversations with others will be backed up with personal experiences.
Its not Complicated, Just Costly
“One of my mentors taught me
Whenever things get foggy
If you wanna grow in God
It’s not complicated,
It just costly”
The solution to our neglect of time with God is very simple: make the time. This is not the answer many people want to hear. Its the same answer as working out or training yourself for anything, you have to make sacrifices and put in the hard work. So how do we do this? We do as Jesus did. We wake up earlier in the morning and start our day in his Word. We choose time with God over time with friends. Instead of watching TV, we open our Bibles. So many times, when “things gets foggy,” we turn to friends, movies, and all sorts of other things while God tells us in Psalm 19:7-8 that “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul…the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” We also are very good at scheduling to make time for God, but not following through. A.W. Tozer says to this, “If you want to be holy then you must give time to God and not just intend to.”
The Christian life is a fight, and we must daily train ourselves to be prepared. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Notice the reasoning behind scripture is to train us in righteousness. God’s desire for us when we read scripture is to be disciplined and molded into being like him.
So let us “look carefully then how we walk…making the best use of our time” (Ephesians 5:15-16).