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Food for Thought - Spiritual Formation

Time with God

When I had been a Christian for a few years I came across a booklet entitled, ďSeven Minutes with God.Ē The purpose of the booklet was to present a formulaic means of having a deep, rich, life-changing morning time with God in only seven minutes. I can remember thinking, ďWhat a sham -- 7 minutes with God -- thatís it! That is not only a ridiculous affront to God but is also just plain idiotic.Ē I saw this idea as a cheapening of oneís relationship with God and a selling out to the busyness and over commitment of our culture. I also believed it would be harmful to those who bought into this method. I thought it would create an irreverence of God and teach people that it was okay to just squeeze God into their day and not worry about seeking to carve out time to be with God. Just catch God on the fly and God will be eternally grateful for the 7 minutes you choose to spend with God.

This was a number of decades ago and now I maybe have softened or maybe over time Iíve personally experienced and tasted a some of Godís graciousness and Godís ability to take a little and do something out of it beyond anything I could think, ask, or imagine. Or maybe I have come to believe that once a person gets a taste of God, even a small taste, their hunger for God will begin to grow and grow and they will become more intentional and begin carving out blocks of time to be with God. Or maybe I actually have come to internally embrace one of my favorite GK Chesterton quotes; ďAnything worth doing is worth doing poorly.Ē

Well, whatever the reason, Iím going to show you a means of quickly connecting with God. It may not even take you 7 minutes and it will help you to connect with God both in the morning as you begin your day and in the evening as you end your day.

A beautiful thing about this way of connecting with God is it is very flexible: it can take as little or as much time as you like. There are two other things I like about this method (I donít like the word method, but there it is). The first is that it is lifted straight out of the Scriptures. I like this because I believe the Scriptures are a unique gateway to God and, like the writer of Hebrews and I believe, the Scriptures are living, active and dynamic words that Godís Spirit uses in special and life transforming ways. The second component of this method I find very valuable is that it bookends your day. It announces the arrival of a new day and proclaims the end of that same day and at both of these junctures, it encourages you to focus on God. It does this by prompting you to consider and give thanks for two aspects of Godís being, one in the morning and another in the evening.

As I have journeyed with people over the past few years I have come to really believe in the value of book ending oneís day with God. Iíve seen first hand that as people bookend their days with God, the focuses of the bookends begin to find their way more and more into the personís entire day. These focuses become like a single drop of food coloring in a large container of water: at first the drop seems to just sit there bringing a little color to the immediate area, yet not impacting a larger area of water. However, over time the little insignificant drop begins to diffuse throughout the entire container of water and before you know it, the one tiny drop of color has transformed every drop of water in the larger container.

This is what can happen with the two bookends Iím about to share with you -- at first they will just sit there and possibly momentarily impact a small portion of your morning and/or evening, but may not do much more than that. But over time, as you make these twin bookends a part of your everyday life, they will begin to make their way into the rest of your day and that will be powerfully transforming.

So what are these bookends? They are found in Psalm 92: 1, 2. The passage begins in verse one by saying, ďIt is good to praise LordĒÖ and verse 2, ďTo praise your (Godís) love in the morning and remember your (Godís) faithfulness at night.Ē So there you have it: you start each morning by remembering Godís extraordinary one-of-a-kind, unconditional, Ďnothing will ever separate you fromí love and then in the evening you call to mind Godís forever faithfulness to you, not only in terms of eternity, but also in regards to the particular day you just completed. Each day you spend time praising, pondering and giving thanks to God for Godís love and faithfulness. What better way to begin and end a day?

Now you have a tool, a simply profound and life-transforming tool, to use to help you open yourself up to God and Godís transforming power. If you use this tool faithfully it will help you to more intentionally walk with God and it will also help you more fully cooperate with what God is doing in you so you will continue becoming the unique, one-of-a-kind creation God has called you and re-created you in Christ to be.

As you can see, this way of beginning and ending your day with God wonít take too much time. Yet over time, your continual focus on Godís love in the morning and faithfulness in the evening will begin to diffuse itself throughout your entire day, impacting how you live, view and interact with others, your circumstances, God, and even yourself. I encourage you to proactively make this a part of the beginning and ending of your day for a few months and see what happens. See if, in fact, the reality of Godís love and faithfulness will begin to diffuse itself throughout your life and you can more and more live in the freedom of knowing the God who is always with you is a God who loves you and is faithful to you - no matter what.

So, there you have it! You now have a simple, efficient, and yet profoundly transforming tool/method to help you to connect and deepen your relationship with God and to shape how you interact with others, your circumstances, God, and yourself. Now you can never truly be too busy, too rushed, or even too tired to intentionally be present to God. Each morning and each evening the choice is yours, God waits in love without pressure or demand for you to take a moment to be with God.

Before ending this piece there are two more verses from the Psalms I would like to share with you that contain the very bookends of Godís love and faithfulness I have been writing about in this short article:

ďFor great is your love (Godís) reaching to the heavens: your (Godís) faithfulness reaches to the skies.Ē Psalm 36:5, 57:10. These are two great attributes of God on which to focus your attention, for they are life-giving and freedom-producing when you begin to internally embrace them and choose to live life believing they are true.

Take a couple minutes each day to focus on the love in the morning and the faithfulness of God at night and see how God, who does beyond anything you could think, ask or imagine, will use these times in your life.

Let the journey begin.

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