Quiet time tips, #2 – Watch out for these 5 roadblocks
In pursuing a quiet time with God, you are going to have to be on your guard, because as mentioned before, you have an enemy who would do almost anything to keep you from finding freedom and power in your relationship with God.
Because of that very real fact, you should watch out for these 5 roadblocks to your quiet time with the Lord…
ROADBLOCK #1: No Plan
My first post in this series beat this drum thoroughly – but I want to pound out that rhythm once more.
If you don’t have a specific, structured plan for how you are going to go about meeting with the LORD regularly, it won’t happen. It’s that simple.
ROADBLOCK #2: Dependence on Emotions
There are 4 ways this roadblock could be seen…
1. You won’t wake up each morning enthused and excited about spending time with the LORD. Sometimes the bed will be more inviting, other times you’ll be eager to get started with work, jobs around the house… whatever. The point is, you’re just not feeling it.
Does that mean you shouldn’t do it?
Giving in to those kinds of feelings is disastrous. You need that time with the LORD every day. Your day will be worse if you miss it, and your ability to honor the LORD with your life will be compromised – guaranteed.
Your desire or lack of desire to consistently carve out that vital time with the LORD has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you should do it.
You need it, so depend on Him to help you, and do it.
2. The time you spend with the LORD each day may sometimes “feel” good while other times it “feels” pretty dry.
Does that mean you didn’t really spend time with God?
Does it mean that something is wrong?
Does it mean that you aren’t “doing it right?”
Your emotions are likely to tell you a very loud “Yes” to every one of those questions. While there may be some truth there to consider, it’s not necessarily true all the time. You need to know that your feelings won’t always line up with what is really happening between you and God… and that’s O.K.
Your diligence and consistency will go a long way to overcome those negative feelings.
3. When you do have an emotional experience with the LORD, make sure that you take your experience to the scriptures for evaluation.
Your enemy the devil will be happy to give you all kinds of emotional experiences if they will detract you from living and acting according to God’s truth.
I’m not saying emotional experiences are bad or wrong – far from it. I’m just cautioning you to keep the truth of God, as revealed in His word, alongside any experiences you may have. Let the word of God interpret, guide, and regulate what you conclude and believe about those kinds of feelings.
4. When you have sinned, your feelings will try to convince you that you are “too guilty” to go to God.
Are you guilty? As sin.
But does that mean God doesn’t want you to come to Him?
Remember David’s example in Psalm 51… God will not despise a broken and contrite heart over sin.
Go to Him in spite of what you feel… in brokenness and repentance. He will receive you, forgive you, and restore you.
ROADBLOCK #3: Legalism
Legalism is believing that you can actually do something to gain God’s favor, when the truth is that you can’t. How does legalism become a roadblock to your daily time with God?
Legalism hampers the effectiveness of your time with the LORD because you are believing something that is not true.
For example: You might be prone to spending a certain amount of time in Bible study, or a certain minimum amount of time in prayer before you “feel right” about making requests of the Lord.
Let’s analyze that… are you trying to butter God up with some “good” actions before you ask Him for what is really on your heart? That’s legalism, alive and well in your devotional life.
God doesn’t want your religious actions, He wants your heart… Matthew 15:8 –
It matters more to God that you are honest when you come to Him than whether or not you do all the things you think He expects.
ROADBLOCK #4: Laziness
You knew this was coming, didn’t you?
We don’t like to face up to it, but it’s the sad truth about all of us from time to time. Sometimes we simply don’t want to put in the effort it takes to get what we need from our time with the Lord. We want microwave, fast-food spirituality. Add water and stir.
But like physical health, a good marriage, competence in your job, and a thousand other things in life that are important, it takes diligent effort to achieve what is needed in your spiritual life.
What should you do if laziness is at the root of your problem?
The answer to laziness is self-control. You have to be able to control your self.
But stop a second and realize that true self-control comes from the Spirit of God. Galatians 5:22-23…
If you will turn to the Holy Spirit in an attitude of dependence and ask Him to give you self-control, He will give it.
But as a family friends says,
Once you’ve asked the Holy Spirit for self-control, your faith has to go to work! If you really believe that He will answer your prayer, then begin doing what the Spirit would have you do as a self-controlled person.
You’ll find that in the doing, He will provide the self-control you need. Remember, “as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. – James 2:26.
ROADBLOCK #5: A Wandering Mind
For years I beat myself up over this one. I’d be as little as 5 or 10 minutes into my daily time with the Lord and something completely unrelated would come to mind. Something I had to do at work that day… a conversation I had with my wife the night before… a website I remembered I wanted to check out… the hole in my sock (no joke)… and the list goes on!
I’d scold myself for being such a flake, failure, and baby Christian. Somehow I expected that I should be able to control my thoughts to the point that they would not wander.
You know what I came to realize? Having a distracted mind was not the problem. The problem was that I wasn’t doing anything to manage the distractions that were sure to come.
Here’s how I took care of the problem once and for all… it’s very, very simple. Are you ready?
A note pad and a pencil.
When the inevitable “to do” task invades your quiet time with the LORD, jot it down on your trusty pad with your trusty pencil, so you can get to it later. Then you turn back toward what you were doing with the Lord.
It really works. I still have a wandering mind, but it doesn’t wander completely away now, because I’ve learned to off-load those stray thoughts in a way that I’m confident that nothing important will go undone.
Give it a try, I’m pretty sure it will be of help to you too!
Can you share other roadblocks and how you’ve overcome them
This post is reworked from my book, RECHARGE