5 Ways to Make Your Quiet Time Meaningful

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Sometimes when we set out to have a quiet time with the Lord, things don't go as planned and we're left feeling empty. We didn't get out of it what we thought we would.

This is a good time to evaluate what you're doing during your quiet time.Sometimes all God asks is that we show up. So, if we're not meeting Him there, it won't be fulfilling.

How do we meet Him in our secret place? What elements make it meaningful?

Obviously there are some things we need to take action on. But God is quite simple. Just show up. By showing up, I don't mean to only get up early for God. You need to actually meet with Him. Don't grab a book or hop on the computer and call that your quiet time.

Meeting with God requires that you bring your mind into submission to focus that time with Him. So, you could have all the "right plans" to get up, get coffee, journal, and pray out--yet your heart still be far from Him. All because you didn't bring your heart and mind into submission to focus on Him.

We could read the Bible, pray, worship and still be far from God. If we only focus on the words we say, not the words He says, we miss Him. If we focus on all our wants and not His desires, we miss Him. If we focus on all the things we're doing and not what He did, we completely miss Him.

He has created us all unique and sometimes this plays a factor into how we connect with Him. For some it's done best through song. For others, they connect with Him through writing or painting or running. But these are merely tools, and not required to meet with God. Take all these away and God still remains.

The question is - will we continue seeking Him without the comforts of our gifts? We must understand what it means to connect with God. And at times that requires laying everything aside and it just being us and Him.

So, if your goal is to always meet with Him on your terms, you're going to have some rare, less than meaningful times with Jesus.

When we miss our "planned/scheduled" time with Him in the morning, do we just leave it at that? Or do we rearrange our agenda to make up that missed time?

If this scenario happens consistently, and we consistently miss time with Jesus and are rarely filled to full,  it's harder to come to Jesus when we're emptied. Often, that emptiness fills up with shame. The goal is to not allow ourselves to become that empty.

how do you make your quiet time meaningful?

1. Have a plan.

You will get nowhere if you don't have some kind of direction. However, be prepared for the Holy Spirit to lead you away from your plan. But if we aim for nothing, we'll hit it every time.

2. Have all your tools in one place.

Your Bible, journal, highlighter, pencil/pen, and anything else you will need during this time. You don’t want to be constantly getting up to find items and waste this precious time with the Lord.

3.Focus more in His word than in the wisdom of men (or other books).

That's not to say other books or men don't carry wisdom beyond our own understanding. But we should always go to His word first and pray for understanding and discernment. Discernment is just a fancy word for judgement or insight.

4.Submit your mind and emotions to God.

Don't just ask for a bunch of things. I mean, I know we all need strength and wisdom from God. But, sometimes our quiet time needs to be a place to empty ourselves so He can fill us. Sometimes, this requires that we be still and just wait on Him.

5. Walk away with something to meditate on.

When we take a truth away from our time and carry it with us throughout the day, turning it over in our head and praying it into our heart, it helps us believe and understand that truth and make it grow into fruition in our lives.

Recommended Resources (affiliate links):

Women in the Word

Savoring Living Water: How to Have an Effective Quiet Time

Secrets of the Secret Place

The Promises of God Come With a Cost

While God does promise us eternal life, there are still conditions which we must meet in order to receive that promise.

God makes us some pretty amazing and remarkable promises throughout His Word. He promises to be faithful, to be our strength, to never fail us or abandon us, and to guide us--just to name a few. As a mom who is raising children to live for Christ, these are promises I cling to. There is no greater mission field than my home while my children are living there and under my care.

But did you also know that many of His promises don't come without specific conditions being met first? Such as the promise of everlasting life. While God does promise us eternal life, there are still conditions which we must meet in order to receive that promise.

1. We must confess we have sinned. (Romans 10:9)

2. We must repent of our sin (by leaving the sinful life behind). (Acts 3:19)

3. We must believe in Christ's death and resurrection. (Romans 10:9; Mark 16:16)

4. We must work out our salvation. (Philippians 2:12-13)

These are not comfortable conditions. While they will indeed set us free, being faced with our own sin is painful and then leaving behind those things we've grown accustomed to doing is also a sacrifice. Furthermore, working out our salvation by allowing Jesus to mold our hearts and purge out the ugly is not a pleasant process. There are many things He will require of us as we grow in righteousness and most of them are not comfortable.

These conditions require molding the heart and as the heart is molded, our actions should follow.

If we are not moved with compassion for the hurting or lost, then we need to pray for God to remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

We find our comforts in many worldly things:

  • Money
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • A Comfortable Home
  • A Nice Car
  • A Rewarding Job
  • Shopping
  • Freedom
  • A Good Education
  • Books/Podcasts/Blogs/Information
  • Pastors/Evangelists/Bible Teachers/Christian Leaders

When we have all these comforts to rely on, where do we have room to rely on God? Where does God fit into a life that seems to have it all? I find this question of particular interest to Americans.

God's Word is consistent about telling us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), put others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3), honor others first (Romans 12:10), and love each other deeply (1 Peter 1:22).

The Bible also communicates at great length about serving God (Matthew 4:10), serving others (1 Peter 4:10), and giving to the poor (Matthew 19:21).

As I've pondered living the comfortable life, I noticed many people deem it as "the blessings of God". Indeed, God does bless us with some comforts...some. But they are never meant to be hoarded or take the place of God in reliance.

I'm reminded of Solomon, whom God not only blessed with wisdom, but also riches. He told Solomon that...

"If you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom..." ~2 Chronicles 7:17-18

God's promise here was made on an "if" condition Solomon had to follow. God made another promise to Solomon if he turned away from God:

"But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house [the Temple] which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples."
~2 Chronicles 7:19-20

The more comfortable I become, the more uncomfortable it makes me. It reminds me I'm not in a place God can use me because I'm too caught up in my own satisfaction.

Being a disciple comes with great cost. But it also comes with a desire to serve God in a greater capacity. The more you seek God, the more you'll willingly give up to serve Him.

But remember, as you seek out the promises of God and claim them, often they don't come without a cost or sacrifice. God wants to take you deeper and that often requires letting go of our own desires and stepping out into uncertainty--which is often very uncomfortable. But He is always there with you.

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

Why It's Critical to Feed Your Spiritual Life Daily

Just a few reasons why we need to seek God daily to keep our spiritual lives strong and always focused on Him.

I see it all the time. Christians are worn down, not just physically, but spiritually. We are fighting battles we are not equipped to fight. We've lost joy, purpose, and are always focused on our circumstances; allowing them to dictate where we put our faith and our level of love and trust in God.

Serving God Shouldn't Be Circumstantial

If things aren't going well, we think God is out to get us or we are being punished for some past sin. We are worn out from the struggle and don't know what to do next. But this isn't the way a Christian was ever meant to live. I'm not suggesting our lives are always going to go the way we want. But God has given us Himself and rarely do we see Him as enough. Rarely do we go to Him on a daily basis (not just when things get bad) to ask for strength, wisdom, and a pouring out of Himself on us.

When things are going well, we think we have it all handled, so what need is there for God? What purpose do we have going to Him when our life is going well? Why bother with the Bible when we think we have the answers--the solutions that sound good and logical?

But the problem is, God isn't just a God of our circumstances. He is the Creator of our very beings...everything we have, everything we are, everything we've become, and everything we've been forgiven comes from God. He doesn't want to just be Lord of our circumstances. He wants to be Lord of our lives. Our whole lives.

Here's a handful of reasons why we need to seek God daily to keep our spiritual lives strong and always focused on Him. This is by no means exhaustive and are in no particular order.

1. To Mature and Grow as Christians

Sadly, I see a lot of Christians who don't even know God's word on popular issues today. People falsely believe that God will have the same ideas as them because they see their ideas as "good and logical".

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12 ESV

Reading God's Word daily ensures we know the Truth about what is good and acceptable and holy. This is God's desire for us as His children. Then we need to live it out.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16

2. To Build an Intimate Relationship With Christ

There are a lot of people who speak for Jesus without hardly knowing Him at all. Going back to the above point...we often believe that because we believe a certain way that Jesus does, too, and frequently that isn't the case.

We cannot know Jesus if we never get on our faces before Him, deny ourselves and what we think we believe, and give ourselves to Him. This isn't about head knowledge. It's about walking in the Spirit.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16

We cannot know Jesus if we never get on our faces before Him, deny ourselves, and what we think we believe. -Christin Slade

 

It's also about understanding our deep need for Him. Without Jesus, we cannot do anything. We are sinners who are lost and separated from God. Believing in Him is not enough for salvation.

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
James 2:19 NLT

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

Once we recognize our deep need for Jesus and His work on the cross, we are compelled to act. It's a deep work of the heart from the Spirit that moves us to action. If you have not yet experienced that work, I urge you to get before God and pray for that revelation and heart-work. It is necessary to for intimacy with Christ.

3. To Suit Up for Battle

When soldiers train, they don't typically do it on the battlefield. They do it before heading to the battlefield. (Though history shows that hasn't always been the case--but the results were catastrophic).

We need to learn to arm ourselves and use those weapons before we actually require them. We are in a spiritual war--constantly. We need to know how to fight off the attacks of the Enemy. The lies, the deception, the discouragement, the temptations. Satan is always prowling around, poking at our weaknesses, looking to gain a foothold in our lives.

When we aren't armed with God's Word and seeking Him in prayer, we will be unable to successfully fight off these attacks.

It is crucial we recognize and understand our need for God, whether our lives are going well or not. God is not a God of circumstances, but of LIFE. And without Him, there is only death.

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

Recommended Resources

The Power of Doing Daily Devotions with Your Children

Children need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. ~Christin Slade

What is a devotional? We view this as a book that takes us through a daily reading and teaching about God's word. While this is true, real devotion is much more than sitting down to read a daily passage and a few notes to go with it. The very word devotion means profound dedication. To break this down further, profound dedication means the deep penetration of one's thoughts and actions to be wholly committed to something.

Your devotion isn't found in doing a devotion. It's found in your dedication to the Lord. The devotional is simply a tool to help you understand how to live out God's Word.

So what does this mean for your children? Where do devotions fit in here?

First, let's look at what it means to live a life of devotion.

Your children need to see you living a devoted life for Christ. They will see your example and mimic it--whether you're living for Christ or not.

However, children also need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. Just as we need to be in the Word and learn what it means, so do our children.

Something I have learned about doing devotions with my children is that when they learn about something, they are more apt to apply it.

For example, when we talk about obedience, my children are more likely to obey and remember to obey, when we have talked about it, therefore, it is in the forefront of their mind. When we talk about why it's important to obey and who their authorities are, they begin to see reason for living out this attribute. They begin to understand the role God has given them.

I want to share 5 elements of a devotional life with you. I have found them to be necessary aspects to living out a life of devotion to God and they will help you as you teach your children the same. They are not exhaustive.

5 Elements of a Devotional Life

  1. Perspective - when it comes to devotion we need a perspective shift. Devotion is not something we merely try to squeeze into our lives and hope there will be room. When we live a devoted life, what we are devoted to will get the most attention. Our words are not enough of us to be considered devoted.  We can say we're devoted, but if our lives don't mirror that, our words render useless. God wants us: heart, soul, and mind.  
     
  2. Prayer - there are so many things that seek to derail us, this is a crucial part of a devoted life.  Satan seeks to debunk that in any way he can. He uses distractions, life circumstances, fatigue, excuse after excuse. Anything can stand in the way of simply sitting down to train our children. We must pray for a clear path and to resist temptation.
     
  3. Patience - As our children learn and grow, they will make mistakes. They will give in to temptation and "forget" what we have taught them. Training children requires heaps of patience. Anger and frustrations will not help us here. If anything, they hurt what we are trying to accomplish.  This is a good time for us to remember that a gentle answer is more productive than a harsh word.
     
  4. Persistence - There will be times we will want to give up because it gets hard. It is so easy to find excuses on why we didn't get around to it today.  Our excuses run endless. But isn't this also training our children? It teaches them we are inconsistent. Do not give up making this time to train in devotion. Be persistent. Do not give up when it gets hard. Push through.
     
  5. Practice - We need to practice what we are teaching and remind our children to do the same. When moments arise that allow for training, most often, it will be something you have taught them about. Now is the time to help them put what they learned into action. Practice living a devoted life. Good behavior and good character are not the only ways to practice devoted living. Sing praises! Pray together. Serve one another and others outside your family. Practice love.

It is not merely the acts that make us devoted. It's a heart of devotion to Christ that makes us devoted. When our hearts are turned toward Him, we will want to devote our time and efforts to Him. But, even those wants can be stifled by excuses and hardships. Don't allow yourself to become complacent. Be active and intentional about living for Christ and training your children in the same.

Some devotionals I recommend:

Our 24 Family Ways (Ages 7+)

Big Thoughts for Little People (Ages 2-5)

Growing Together in Gratitude - and others in this series (Ages 8+)

 

For His Glory,

Christin Slade