How important is it to set apart daily time with God? How will this help me in developing Christian character?
Each morning, a great while before daybreak, Jesus rose and prayed to His Father (Mark 1:35). If Jesus was so serious about reserving time for His Father, we should also realize the importance of personal time with God.
First, we should desire to be with the Lord simply because we love Him. Those who allow their personal worship time to be crowded out by late sleeping or the activities of daily life show a lack of friendship with God.
Second, time with God enriches us personally. Bible reading familiarizes the reader with the teachings, guidelines, and promises of God. A willful neglect of these will leave us unprepared when temptations arise. Adequate time for personal prayer lays the foundation for a day of communion with God.
Third, making regular time for devotions demonstrates our earnestness to receive God’s help. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41. These were Jesus’ words to His disciples, just prior to events that would bring them into great trial. But, their eyes were heavy and sleep took the place of prayer. Jesus had asked, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” Verse 40. More than one hour would have been better, but they could not devote even one. They showed that preparing to remain faithful in the trials ahead was not their first priority. When we neglect prayer and study, or shirk the faithful hour and content ourselves with a few random minutes, we evidence to God and angels that we have higher priorities than establishing a walk with God.
So what should you do? Decide that personal time with God each morning will be a serious priority from now on. Make time for it at the beginning of your day, when the house is quiet and distractions are not pressing in to steal your attention. Allow adequate time. Jesus recommends at least one hour. Do not be tempted to omit or shorten this time or to put it off until later in the day. If one day you make a mistake and are not consistent, do not give up; have your worship that evening, if necessary, and then pray for help to become more consistent.
Morning worship is not a guarantee that we will be faithful throughout the day, for victory lies in continuing and maintaining the union with God formed in the morning. If we leave our devotional hour and forget to pray, we are likely to fall into some temptation. If this happens, do not become discouraged about the value of morning devotions. Rather, pray for help to continue your communion with God, instead of breaking it off at the end of your devotional time.
Merely reading and saying a perfunctory prayer will be of little help if we fail to fully surrender the will to Christ. Complete submission, seeking God’s will, and communion with Him must take place. If these things are continued through the following hours, we will be prepared to stay strong in the Lord through the whole day.
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