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It takes time.

05/11/2012

The more that God grows me in a love for His Word, the more I am convinced that there is no legitimate way to grow spiritually that doesn’t take time.  “It takes time.”  I think when we say phrases like that about spiritual growth, we’re usually talking about being patient with what God will do on His time schedule or how His scale and scope of sanctification is bigger than ours.  Or whatever.  And these things are true.  Not wrong at all.  But what I mean by “it takes time” is that spiritual growth will always require me putting more time into it than I’d naturally like.  Biblically, experientially, logically.  That’s the way it is.  Fortunately or unfortunately, however we may see it.  Time investment needed.  There’s no cheap way out.

God’s very words are given to me through the Bible.  His words.  Literally.  God Almighty.  (Well, there’s one reason to put some time in.)  But if I don’t spend copious amounts of time reading it, studying it, and meditating on it, I’m not sure I can expect to understand or reap the benefits of what it means to be a follower of Christ.  Why do I think this is any different from other areas of life?  If I want to do well on a final, I spend time studying.  If I want to play guitar well, I practice!  The truth of God’s Word doesn’t become automatically and lastingly convicting to lazy Daisies.  If the Bible and the God of the Bible aren’t taking true priority of my time, I honestly can’t expect to grow very much.  I know it’s a disappointing thought.  It’s not free.  It’s not easy.  If I just look a little bit closer, I can very easily see several spots where my heart wanders off from the tried and true trail that’s labeled “faithful.”  Often (these are just a start):

I see spending time in the Word as “sacrificing” my time that could be spent on other things.

My highest emotions in a given period of time are regularly stirred by things other than Biblical truth.

I’m consistently spending significantly more time on profitless activities than anything else.  (“Profitless” in every sense of the word, not just spiritually profitless!)

I have busy days.  Sure, one verse is better than none… (But honestly.  What day isn’t busy?  Or “busy?”)

My stewardship of this or that (even ministry things) is just as important.  Then we wonder why we lose the heart of why we’re doing ministry…

Woah there.  Leave me alone, Bible Police!  Right?!

Let’s be clear here.  Seeing these things don’t necessarily mean that I’m in sin.  Instead, it means some sort of re-examination needs to occur to see if there’s indeed sin needing to be uprooted.  These types of things are just possible indicators of what my priorities truly are despite what I might tell myself or others they are.  It’s going to take deep heart change to refocus my view of Scripture if that’s what’s needed.  Re-prioritization.  Or, prioritization if it’s never been that way before.  Then, when my priorities are refocused (or focused for the first time!), I need to give it time.

The bottom line: Legitimate spiritual growth requires regular time in the Word at a lengthy, deep, and emotionally invested level.  Joyful, intense and profitable should be the daily average for the Christian’s time wrestling with the truth of the Word of God.  If I don’t give it the light of day, I can’t expect it to be able to pierce and convict my soul.

There’s no cheap way out.  Give it time.  A lot of time.  Give it a lot of faithful time.

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