Something my professor, Dr. Randy Roberts, said in my “Learning to Love God and Others” class hit really close to home. Therefore, I have a confession to make: my devotional times have been an idol. Almost every day for years now I have made it a priority to spend time alone with God. I like to set aside the first portion of my wakefulness to read my Bible, meditate on God’s message for me, pray, and occasionally read an entry from a devotional. Sometimes I used to even blog as a response to whatever God showed me.
So how could this ever be an idol? This may sound surprising, and indeed I was surprised to realize this about myself. The sad truth is that for far too long I have viewed my quiet times as an ends, not a means. I’m not saying it’s bad to read your Bible, pray, meditate on God’s Word, memorize Scripture, etc. I’m saying they’re not the ultimate point. Our quiet times must always be a means to an ends, not the ends themselves. For years, I would read my Bible for the sake of reading my Bible. Shame on me! For years I would pray for the sake of praying. Oh, what vanity! For years I would do these things because I thought I was supposed to do these things. These things are not meant to terminate on themselves, they are meant to point us upwards.
I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I forgot why I did these things: to connect to my Savior. I must read my Bible not just for the sake of reading my Bible, but in order that I may know my God in a deeper way. I must pray not for the sake of simply praying but in order that I may commune with my Savior. I must attend church not for the sake of warming up a seat, but so that I may worship my Maker.
Our quiet times are not a ends, they are a means. We must always remember why we read the Bible, why we pray, why we spend time memorizing the Bible, why we attend church, why we do all the things that we do.
We do these things because they are a means to a far greater ends. We do these things so that we may connect with the God of the universe. We do these things to to fall deeper in love with our Savior.