I once heard a godly man say that when we neglect our personal time with God, our burdens become unbearable. I discovered for myself just how true this is recently when I began spending less time with the Lord and His Word each morning. At first, I didn't even realize what I was doing, and then when I began to suspect it, I chose to ignore it. I suppose that I inwardly gave myself permission to get a bit "sloppy" in this area, thinking that no harm would be done. But then the Lord showed me Psalm 85:8 (NIV), which says, "I will listen to what God the LORD says; He promises peace to His people, His faithful servants - but let them not turn to folly." What is folly? It's basically a costly lack of good sense or judgment. The Lord was warning me here that while He has promised me peace because of my devotion to Christ, I would not be able to reap the full benefit of His promise as long as I was neglecting my personal time with Him.
One of the requests I have heard most from people I have come in contact with through my ministry all these years is, "Please pray that I will discipline myself to spend private time with the Lord each day." These people have undoubtedly been convicted by the Holy Spirit as I was when I let my time with God slip. They were not enjoying the peace that Jesus promised His faithful followers when He said, "I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27 NLT) As a result, the wear and tear of daily life was pressing upon them.
Think about the people you love most in this world, and how much you love spending time with them. You know that you can't have a truly personal, intimate, growing relationship with a loved one unless you spend quality time with them on a regular basis. It's the same with God. We simply cannot expect to have the same kind of relationship with the Lord when we neglect our quiet times with Him, as we would have if we made spending time with Him our highest priority. And our level of intimacy with God will have a tremendous impact on our level of peace. The apostle Peter wrote: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." (2 Peter 1:2 NASB) It's a scriptural truth that we receive more and more divine favor, power, and peace as we spend quality time with the Lord. The Living Bible puts it this way: "Do you want more and more of God's kindness and peace? Then learn to know him better and better." (2 Peter 1:2 TLB) And one of the best ways to get to know the Lord better is to give Him our undivided attention each day in prayer and Bible reading, since the Scriptures are filled with the truths of God.
We live in a very busy, hectic, and noisy world filled with people and circumstances that will crush us if we let them. Before Jesus went to the cross, He spoke words of comfort and reassurance to His disciples, telling them: "I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 TLB) Because Christ overcame the world, those who choose to follow Him can be overcomers, too. But only when we have the "peace of heart and mind" that He promises - the peace that we forfeit when we neglect our personal time with Him. If you have been lacking peace in your life lately, could it be that you have been putting other things or people ahead of your relationship with God?
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your promise of peace to Your faithful ones. I know that no matter what is going on in my life, You are able to sustain me with Your own special kind of peace. Please help me to cooperate with You each day so that the troubles and trials of this world will not disillusion, discourage, or depress me. Help me to discipline myself to spend quality time with You each day in undistracted and unhurried prayer, Bible reading, and meditation. Thank You that as I follow Your lead in this area, You will fill me with Your unshakable, supernatural peace of mind and heart!
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