If you want to see growth in your Christian life, you must commit yourself to what we sometimes call “spiritual disciplines.” In 1 Timothy 4:7, Paul says to “train yourself for Godliness.” This isn’t just “try harder” and “try to be Christ-like”. This is a command to intentionally, whole heartily, give all of yourself to growing in holiness. It’s a call to enter into the process of sanctification that God is currently doing in you through the Holy Spirit.
But before we move forward and talk about the spiritual discipline of quiet time (you may call it devotions, Bible reading, etc.) we need to understand one thing about spiritual disciplines. It’s not the spiritual disciplines that sanctify you. Doing your quiet time doesn’t necessarily make you a better follower of Christ. Spiritual disciplines are the channels God uses to sanctify you. So doing a daily quiet time is a way you can expose yourself to God’s Word and a channel that He will use to make you more like His Son. Spiritual disciplines create conditions where God’s grace and sanctifying work can flow through you.
So what about quiet time? I believe one of the most important spiritual disciplines you can have in your life is a daily time where you read God’s Word and apply it to your life. Here are are a few thoughts on how to have a daily, effective quiet time:
Get a system. Don’t just open up your Bible and read the first verse your eyes see. Find a system that takes you through God’s Word in an organized fashion. If you don’t have a good system in place you will quickly stop doing your quiet time. There are many systems out there, but the one I use and recommend is Word of Life’s Online Quiet Time. It’s a daily quiet time system that take you through books of the Bible as well as a few Psalms each year. It’s totally online and it even has an iPhone app! It also allows you to keep a prayer journal and set up accountability (click here to check it out).
Find a consistent time. Once you have a good system that works for you, find a consistent time each day to do your quiet time. Having a time set aside each day will help you gain consistency in doing your quiet time. I have done mine at various different times through the years. At one time I did them in the middle of the day and at one time I was doing them in the morning. Currently I do them at night. Find a time that works best for you and stick with it.
Use study helps. Having a copy of God’s Word is excellent, but grab a few study helps to help you dive deeper into God’s Word. I would suggest getting a solid commentary that will go along with your Bible reading. I would suggest using the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Bible Knowledge Commentary (Old & New Testament), or the Wiersbe Bible Commentary. I have found these to be some of the most helpful commentaries and they offer a good balance between exposition and application.
Have accountability. If you want to get serious about your time with the Lord, ask someone to keep you accounatble. Ask them to check up on you regularly and especially ask about your time with God. Make sure they ask you are you doing them as well as what you are learning.
These are just a few thoughts on how to have a consistent quiet time. As I said earlier, it’s not a command from God to have a daily quiet time, but it’s a way we expose ourselves on a regular basis to God’s Word so He can shape us into the image of His Son!