The other day a woman I was counseling asked me a great question: “How much time should I spend in daily devotions?” She confessed that she felt pressured to live up to what other women in her small group were studying and how much time they were spending. I fought the urge to tell her exactly what I do for my quiet times, and instead answered her question with a question: “How much time do you need in order to have a vibrant and growing relationship with the Lord?” When I asked her that question, she was able to come to a reasonable answer on her own. I think a lot of people are unsure about what devotional times should look like, and often have the question, how much is enough? This is a subject that I address in Swim in the Deep End, as you will see from the following excerpt:
The most cited reason for not studying the Bible (according to my unscientific survey) is “I don’t have enough time.” In fact, I have used this very excuse in explaining to my friend why I hadn’t been spending time in the Word. Her response? “We make time for the things that are important to us.” Ouch.
Now I’m not going to say a specific number, like “you need to spend x amount of time studying the Bible every day” Remember, this is about building a relationship. God refers to us as “friends” and the even more tender term, “children” (John 15:15; Ephesians 1:5). The relationship between Christ and His church is compared to the most intimate relationship of all, husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33). Can you imagine what my husband would do if I told him, “Okay honey, I can hang out with you every morning between 7:00 and 7:15. Except on the weekends, when I’ll be sleeping in. Those days, I probably won’t get around to talking to you at all, except while we’re at church.” What kind of relationship is that? I wouldn’t communicate with my husband like that, so why would I do that with God? While our communication isn’t strictly planned, it is regular and frequent. Without consistent interaction, we would start to drift apart, immersed in our own worlds.
In the same way, a good relationship with God is a combination of spontaneity and intentionality. It responds to daily circumstances, but is also comprised of daily discipline. Some conversations are pleasant and easy; others require hard work and careful listening.
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