“I’m just so busy right now.” “This is just a season, and once I get past this, I’ll be able to spend more time with God.” “I just feel like I didn’t get much out of the Bible when I read it, so I kind of gave up.” “I’m not a Bible scholar and have a hard time understanding some of what I read, so I leave that to the experts.” “I’m helping a lot of people and volunteering, that is my time with God.”

We all have excuses, reasons why we don’t spend time with God in His Word. Some of those reasons seem pretty legit (raising a family, providing for your household, volunteering, etc.). None of those things are inherently bad, but when they move God to the bottom of the list, it can become a problem. The other day, I saw someone wearing a shirt that said, “Not Today, Satan.” I think it’s a cool saying, especially if we really are resisting the temptation to fill our lives to the brim with things that take us away from God. But don’t we more often say, “Not today, Jesus,” in the way we live our lives?

When we reduce God to what we hear about Him from pastors on Sunday morning or books or podcasts, in a way, we are saying, “I’d like to know about You, but I don’t really want to know YOU.” When our version of truth is defined by someone else’s opinion or take on God’s truth, it’s often no longer Truth. We have to get back to God’s Word. We have to get back to making time to get to know the God we say we believe in. We have to stop saying, “Not today, Jesus,” and buckle down and give Him the time He deserves. I’m not opposed to sermons and podcasts and books, but making them our primary source for truth can be dangerous.

Can you imagine if you made a decision to marry and spend the rest of your life with someone based on a friend’s opinion of them … without actually getting to know them for yourself? But isn’t that what we often do? We accept Jesus as our Savior, get our “ticket to heaven,” and then spend the rest of our lives listening and learning from someone who knows about Jesus, but never taking the time to get to know Him ourselves.

Around eight years ago, I said to God, “I need to find out for myself if your Word is really enough, without anything added to it by great speakers or great books.” For a year, I went back to the basics and simply read the Bible from front to back. I committed to spending one hour a day in His Word for a year. This was during one of the busiest times in my life. I had a 1-year-old and a new business … and NO TIME. But I made the time. I will be honest and say that every day wasn’t a mountaintop experience (especially reading through Leviticus). But I refused to stop because I was bored, or because I didn’t agree with or understand a specific verse that I came across. I didn’t stop because I wanted so badly to see if this God who I had been raised to believe really was who everyone claimed He was. I had read the Bible before, but this time was different because I begged God to reveal Himself to me, to show me who He was and to change my heart. I went into it simply with the motivation of getting to know God.

That year changed my life. I discovered a God who I came to know personally, and a God that I will never leave and who I know will never leave me. I came to know that, in Him, I can find truth, freedom, peace, joy, purpose, abundant life, comfort and so much more.

Please know that I don’t share this to toot my own horn or make anyone feel bad! I simply desire for others to experience God in this way and to really KNOW Him. At the end of the day, it was the Holy Spirit that revealed God to me. It was not my own doing. “Jesus replied. ‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day’” (John 6:44).

So, no matter what our excuse may be, let’s choose to say, “TODAY, Jesus, TODAY!”

 

“But if you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” -Deuteronomy 4:29

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” -Psalm 63:1

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” -Hebrews 11:6

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” -1 Corinthians 2:14

 

Stephanie Parker

 

Eye on the Prize
Begins Tuesday, July 14
7 p.m. on Facebook

Band of Brothers’ new summer study, Eye on the Prize, starts Tuesday, July 14. It’s all about endurance with a call to commitment and a challenge to stay the course no matter what we face in life.  If there was ever a time when the church needed men who would fight the good fight of faith, it’s now. So, join Band of Brothers this summer as we learn to keep our eye on the prize and our hope in the Lord.

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