Most Christians are taught early on to in-corporate a devotional time into their day. This typically includes Scripture reading and prayer, both of which are essential for spiritual growth. But occa-sionally we should evaluate what effect this practice is having in us. In other words, we should ask, Is my quiet time accomplishing God’s purpose, or has it simply become a ritual I do out of habit or duty?
James says we need the Word to be implanted in us. This first happens when we hear and believe the gospel, which leads us to salvation. Peter describes salvation as being born again “through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). But the implanted Word does even more—it sanctifies us. That’s why Jesus prayed to His Father, “Sanc-tify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Sanctification is the process by which be-lievers are progressively transformed into Christ-likeness in conduct, conversation, and character. And the means God uses is His Word.
When Scripture is implanted in us, it roots out sins and produces righteousness. A quiet time shouldn’t be like the description in James 1:24 of someone who looks in a mirror and then forgets what he’s seen. Instead, it should involve an intent look into God’s Word, which changes us inwardly. Divine truth penetrates the heart, mind, and will and ultimately expresses itself in obedience.
Is your quiet time bearing spiritual fruit, or have you become satisfied with a routine glance at the Bible? For the Word to implant in your soul, some digging is required—and also patience as you wait for spiritual fruit to develop.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Protection Through Strengthening
2 Timothy 4:9-18
When he wrote to timothy, the apostle Paul was in prison, where he experienced physical discomfort, personal attack, and desertion. For what reason would the Lord allow one of His most faithful servants to endure such suffering? Why didn’t He step in and protect him?
At times God doesn’t pull us out of hard situations, because He has a different plan. We may feel as if He’s abandoning us, but in reality, He is protecting us—not by deliverance but through strengthening.
When trouble and pain pay us a visit, we should seek to view the situation from God’s perspective, by asking ourselves these questions:
• Which is a greater demonstration of the Lord’s power—changing something around me or changing something within my heart?
• Which is the greater faith builder—seeing God’s deliverance from every difficulty or experiencing His presence and strengthening in the midst of trials?
• Which reward is greater—immediate relief from discomfort or tested and refined faith that will result in praise and glory when Christ returns (1 Peter 1:7)?
• Which answer to prayer is greater—that God has removed something and given me external peace, or that He’s left me in a trial and given an internal peace that nothing can steal, not even my circumstances?
Does God have to fix something for you to be happy? If He removes the situation, you may never learn that He is sufficient for everything you need. Instead, let Him change you, and you’ll discover His joy in whatever circumstance comes your way.