During my holiday, I was convicted by the following story told by Rory Noland in his book, Thriving as an Artist:
I remember going through a difficult period in my life. Ministry was tough, life was difficult, and I felt dry spiritually. I woke up one morning thinking, There isn’t anything about my life I’m enjoying these days. I felt unmotivated and passionless. In an effort to fix my unhappiness, I decided to make a list of the things I enjoy most. I wrote down everything I could think of….When I was done, I looked at the list and confidently thought, These are the things that bring me joy, so in order to shed my doldrums, I needed to do more of these fun-inspiring activities.
The next day, I took out my calendar and, with the list in hand, started to schedule in those things I most enjoy doing. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks - God wasn’t on my list. The God whom I have pledged to love with all my heart didn’t even come to mind when I thought of what I enjoyed the most in this life. Jesus was not my deepest joy. He wasn’t even a consideration, let alone my greatest pleasure. How did my heart grow so cold? How did I lose my passion for God?
I had fallen victim to the most lethal passion killer man has ever known – hurry. I was reading the Bible every day, but my mind was so preoccupied I wasn’t hearing the Lord speak to me. My prayers had degenerated into rapid fire one-liners that were thrown heavenward while on the run between appointments. So I was praying, but I was talking at God, not to him. And that’s certainly not the kind of conversational prayer Christ died to make possible. You see, even though I was having my quiet time, I wasn’t connecting with God personally. I was too preoccupied to linger in his presence.
This was convicting because sometimes I can go through a day without acknowledging God’s presence until it's time for my “quiet time” (as if God only speaks during the time I give Him). This was convicting because I can turn prayer or Bible reading into a duty, a check list that HAS to be done. But the important issue is did I meet with God during those times? Is my life slow enough to hear God’s whisper? Bill Hybels once asked, “Is the ambient noise level of my life low enough for me to hear the whispers of the Lord?” I need to slow down and listen and let God become my source of joy and strength…what about you?
Something to think about:
· Do I read the Bible because I can’t wait to spend time with God, or because it’s what I’m supposed to do?
· Do I pray because I get to or because I have to?