I believe that knowing what the Bible says, is essential to spiritual growth. Without knowing the words of truth, from our God, we would all go on our own way and what seemed good in our own hearts.
Thanks to David Drake for asking for some sort of disclaimer on this post. :)
Growing up, my parents never made me do a "quiet time" nor did I ever know if they did one on their own. Actually, after speaking to my dad (who has always been either a pastor or elder since I was born), he admits he hasn't done regular "quiet times" for over 40 years. So, I am not sure where my thought process of feeling so sinful as I have dealt with quiet time "regulations" over the past 6 years. I have been told, and been preached to by many, how important a quiet time is for those who follow Jesus. You might be thinking of something different when you hear quiet time, so I'll give you my thoughts when I hear the term (besides the fact of wondering what people did before the 15th century when there wasn't a printing press). For me, it means spending a certain time, on certain days, reading and studying the Bible and praying. Now, the idea doesn't seem to be wrong. And, that's not what I am saying with this post. But, what I have been told, is that it is necessary to have one on a regular basis to aid in sanctification. Here is the problem. I have never done it on a regular basis. The closest I have come in doing this is when I was preaching/teaching twice a week and was studying the Bible for the sake of teaching it. Further, "rules and regulations" are put on quiet times. Such as:
How long should I have a quiet time?
What part of the day should I have a quiet time?
Should I have quiet times with others?
Should I have a quiet time with my wife? With another brother in Christ? With my children?
If you read those above and you say, "yes, I have always done all these!" I find that interesting, and totally fine. But, I read all those above and have to be honest: I have never done any of the aboved mentioned on a regular basis. This might just add to the fact of why some believe me to be a heretic. But, I have always desired to have a quiet time. I have always desired to have a study with my wife, with my children and with my friends on a regular basis. But, what seems to happen is that I never "stay with it" and to be honest, it is a real burden, instead of something I find to be a joy. But, the only reason I have desired to do it, is because I have been told I am supposed to want to do a quiet time if I love Jesus. The fact is, I feel like I love Jesus, but I hate and don't desire traditional quiet times in any way.
I will say that I have always been slow to admit this kind of stuff to others, knowing how most feel about quiet times. Meaning, it seems most that I have run into have very legalistic thoughts about how to "meditate" on the word of God and how to "meet God" and worship him. I was discussing this with a close friend and we both don't want to be lazy with our time with God, but we also want to honor the way that God has made us and be able to worship God in joy, instead of a burden.
Quiet time has always been a burden for me. So, like all burdens, I avoid them like the plague. After discussing this with my wife, which we both realized a long time ago that us studying anything together on a regular basis was going to put us on a road to divorce, she confirmed my thoughts on this subject. What if God made us all different? What if to "meditate" and "worship" God happened more through how God made us, instead of pushing one form of meditation and worship on all persons? What if God allowed us to worship him through the personalities and desires he has given us? After thinking through this, I received the below in a PDF format that showed the different ways people seek and worship God. Although I am more apt to study the Bible by myself, the way I teach my kids and lead my wife is by redeeming certain areas of our life and also bringing about the redemptive understanding of the Gospel in different areas/situations that come up in our lives on a daily basis.
So, when playing catch with my sons, I might speak about the glory of God. When disciplining or building up my sons, I will use Scripture to speak God into their lives. When I am wrong, I apologize to my children and speak to them about the cross and resurrection. When eating, I point to God's provision. I am more apt to teach my children theology through daily life, instead of systematizing theology with them, even though this is how I personally learn.
Here is the list of 9 ways people seek God. Which one are you? And, am I crazy for admitting and not desiring some Western thinking of how to "meditate on the word of God"? Have we put more importance on the means instead of the end game, which is to worship God and enjoy him forever?
by Gary Thomas
Naturalists: Loving God Out of Doors
Naturalists would prefer to leave any building, however beautiful, to pray to God beside a river. Leave the books behind - just let them take a walk through the woods, mountains, or open meadows. Naturalists learn to seek God by surrounding themselves with all that he has made.
Sensates: Loving God with the Senses
Sensate believers want to be lost in the awe, beauty and splendor of God. They are drawn particularly to the liturgical, the majestic, the grand. When these believers worship, they want to be filled with the sights, sounds, and smells that overwhelm them. Incense, intricate architecture, classical music and formal language send their hearts soaring.
Traditionalists: Loving God through Ritual and Symbol
Traditionalists are fed by what are often termed the historic dimensions of faith: rituals, symbols, sacraments and sacrifice. These believers tend to have a disciplined life of faith. Frequently they enjoy regular attendance at church services, tithing, keeping the Sabbath, and so on. Traditionalists have a need for ritual and structure.
Ascetics: Loving God in Solitude and Simplicity
Ascetics want nothing more than to be left alone in prayer. Take away the liturgy, the trappings of religion, and the noise of the outside world. Let there be nothing to distract them - no pictures, no loud music - and leave them alone to pray in silence and simplicity. Ascetics live a fundamentally internal existence. Even when they are part of a group of people, they might seem to be isolated from the others. They are uncomfortable in any environment that keeps them from “listening to the quiet.”
Activists: Loving God through Confrontation
Activists serve a God of justice, and their favorite Scripture is often the account of Jesus cleansing the temple. They define worship as standing against evil and calling sinners to repentance. These believers often view the church as a place to recharge their batteries so they can go back into the world to wage war against injustice. Activists may adopt either social or evangelistic causes, but they find their home in the world of confrontation.
Caregivers: Loving God by Loving Others
Caregivers serve God by serving others. They often claim to see Christ in the poor and needy, and their faith is built up by interacting with other people. Whereas caring for others might wear many of us down, this recharges a caregiver’s batteries. Perhaps the supreme example of this temperament is Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Enthusiasts: Loving God with Mystery and Celebration
Excitement and mystery in worship is the spiritual lifeblood of enthusiasts. These believers are the cheerleaders for God and the Jesus-following life. Let them clap their hands, shout “Amen!” and dance in their excitement, that’s all they ask. If their hearts aren’t moved, if they don’t experience God’s power, something is missing. They don’t want to know concepts, but to experience them, to feel them and to be moved by them.
Contemplatives: Loving God through Adoration
Contemplatives refer to God as their lover, and images of a loving Father and Bridegroom predominate their view of God. Their favorite Bible passage might be taken from the Song of Songs. The focus is not necessarily on serving God, doing his will, accomplishing great things in his name, or even obeying God. Rather, these believers seek to love God with the purest, deepest and brightest love imaginable.
Intellectuals: Loving God with the Mind
Intellectuals might be skeptics or committed believers, but in either case they are likely to be studying doctrines like Calvinism, infant baptism, ordination of women and predestination. These believers live in a world of concepts. “Faith” is something to be understood as much as experienced. They may feel closest to God when they first understand something new about him.
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