“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
One of the temptations that we face in living the new life we have in Christ Jesus is to settle for a life of religion. This is easy to do because religion feels “spiritual.” This shouldn’t surprise us since religion’s purpose is to “connect” us to God. When we follow the path of religion we discover that it is an attempt to short cut process of true transformation.
One of the indications that we have a problem in our relationship with God is when our “spiritual” life is done entirely in public and for the show of others. It is a red flag when we use public moments to connect with God, and neglect opportunities to connect with God in private. A healthy relationship with God cannot develop if we the only time we spend with Him is in the presence of other people. Alone time with God is vital.
Way back in 1895 a pastor by the name of Andrew Murray wrote:
If you are not willing to sacrifice time to get alone with him, and to give him time every day to work in you, and to keep up the link of connection between you and himself, he cannot give you that blessing of his unbroken fellowship. Jesus Christ asks you to live in close communion with him. Let every heart say: “O, Christ, it is this I long for, it is this I choose.” And he will gladly give it to you. (Humility and Absolute Surrender, emphasis added, p. 157).
I think Andrew Murray hits on one of the common experiences we all have as we follow Christ Jesus: being selfish with our time. The older we get the less time we seem to have, and yet we seem to find the time to watch football, gossip with friends, and go shopping. What gets sacrificed in the process is our relationship with Christ, and thus our connection to the source of transforming new life is shut off.
The most important choice we can make each day is the choice to put aside good things and spend time with God through prayer, reading the Bible, worship, and meditation. God longs to give us life, but we have to ask for it.
Questions to Ponder:
- Is alone time with God an important part of your day? What seems to get in the way of spending time with God?
- What does it mean to sacrifice? Why do you think it is so important to sacrifice our time in order to spend time with God?
- What should be our motivation for sacrificing our time?