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We seem to have become a success driven world. We may measure success by many different things depending on our culture or country but generally it will have a connection to productivity. If our goal is productivity with a little time to spare for play, it often leads to lists to guide our days. Some of us write down lists while others of us have lists in our heads that are no less nudging us.
Our values often will guide what shows up on our list. There can be things related to work and home, education and finances, exercise, and diet, and more. Without intending to do so, our lives can be guided by the tyranny of the list in other ways including what we believe our spiritual lives should include.
That latter category can include things like how often and when we attend services where we worship, what we do to serve, how much we read in our Bible, whether or not we memorize scripture, how much we actually study the Bible, and prayer lists of things we are asked to or believe we should pray for. None of that is necessarily bad but it can become somewhat mechanical, and we miss a key thing. Our spiritual lives are forged from a relationship with God and relationships never grow from a list of “to do” things.
Too often we make a list of how many chapters we should read per day or week, how many scriptures we need to memorize, and who we need to add to our prayer list, and we get busy and don’t think we can put those things in our day. So, we read a verse while we grab our coffee and pray as we go (if we remember).
Relationships grow from time spent together doing a variety of different things where we focus on just that one other person.
“For example, a husband and wife who only talk in snippets to one another throughout the day would have a shallow relationship. You’d be business partners, not lovers. You can’t build a relationship by sound bites.” Paul Miller
It can be easy to forget that Jesus had a dependent relationship with his Father.
Note how John writes:
“I can do nothing on my own.” (John 5:30)
He tells us to be like a child with God and demonstrated it over and over again.
Jesus trusted his Father, God, completely. We often struggle with that in our lives despite our faith. Maybe it can be explained in part because of the intimacy of the relationship He had with his “dad.” When Jesus withdrew in prayer it demonstrated a priority relationship.
Most of us know what a priority relationship is. It’s the person we want to spend time with and will make it happen on the busiest of days. We look for times to connect with them one-on-one whether on a walk, a favorite coffee shop, or anywhere at all. And those relationships grow as we get to know each other in dedicated times together.
Jesus understood that kind of focused attention. Look at how He was with people in his time on the earth.
“When Jesus is with someone, that person is the only person in the room. Jesus slows down and concentrates on one person at a time. The way he loves people is the identical to the way he prays to his Father.”Paul Miller
That’s what He wants with you and me. He wants time to love us that way and it can’t happen if He is a “to do” list item, or in sound bites only throughout our day, or only while we grab coffee on our way out the door.
“You don’t create intimacy; you make time for it. This is true whether you are talking about your spouse, your friend, or God. You need space to be together. Efficiency, multitasking, and busyness all kill intimacy. In short, you can’t get to know God on the fly.”Paul Miller
If a quiet time is merely something we squeeze in routinely or only make a part of our daily “to do” list, we are missing the best He wants for us. This God, this Jesus, wants an intimate relationship with you (with me) where we get to know his heart and we share ours with Him.
If you make time for other things or people, but not Him think what you are missing. Start intimate time with Him and you will discover how much you miss without it.