Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsSunday 3 Jan 2021Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
Can we slow down to experience God? In the Scriptures, God’s voice seems to be silent at times. Before Samuel becomes a prophet, it is said that the voice of the Lord was rare in those days. The time between the Old and New Testaments is often referred to as ‘the 400 years of silence’.
During those times, people were tempted to believe God had abandoned or forgotten them, but we know in those silent times, God was preparing the people for something incredible. Maybe the same is true for us—when we slow down and embrace the quiet, we join God in the process of making all things new, even ourselves.
The Consequences of Getting so Busy
Kirk Byron Jones, in his book Addicted to Hurry, says that the result of our hurried lives is that we don’t see clearly, we don’t listen carefully, we don’t think deeply and we don’t savour life fully. When we get really busy we don’t see clearly the things that are often the most important and the things that are right in front of us.
Billy Graham tells the story of when he was in Los Angeles in his first round of revivals. His daughter Ruth had just been born and he had left her and his wife back in their home town in North Carolina. During the revivals Billy’s family came to visit him and when he saw his sister-in-law holding his own daughter Ruth he asked her who the baby was. He was so busy that he didn’t even recognise his own child.
Before we get too critical of Billy Graham, the truth is we can all get so busy that we don’t see the needs of our family and friends who are right in front of us. We can get so busy with our own schedules and activities that we don’t see the hurt or disappointment in the eyes of those who need us. We can get so busy that we fail to see the beauty God placed in the world around us.
When We Have No Time to Develop Wisdom
Our hurry-up world also means we don’t think deeply. Thinking deeply means taking the time to reflect on things so that we can learn from them. This is called wisdom. Wisdom is really just life experience reflected on and learned from. Wisdom develops when we take the time to ask the question, What does this mean and what does this mean for me?
Those are the questions we need to ask as we read Scripture and pray and read the news and reflect on the decisions and choices we make every day. If we are going to gain wisdom and perspective in life we need time to simply think deeply. I fear that in our hurry-up world where every message needs to be expressed in 140 characters or less, there is no room for deep thinking, which means we will struggle to become really wise.
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In our hurry, we leave no room for deep thinking
Our out-of-control lives also means we don’t savour life fully. We are so busy running from one event to the next that we never really enjoy what we are doing. We need to stop and celebrate what is taking place in our lives. We need to nurture friendships and strengthen families and we need to take time to thank God for all that he is doing in our lives. When we get too busy, all of those things suffer.
We May Need to Make Some Changes
Maybe we need to stop and confess that our lives are out of control and that we need to make some changes. Maybe we need to stop, take a deep breath, look around us, look at our phones, calendars, diaries and schedules and admit that our lives are out of control and that we need to live differently starting today. Do you know what this is called? Stopping to confess our out-of-control lives is called repentance.
Repentance means to turn; more specifically it means turning away from a life that God doesn’t want for us so we can grab hold of the life God does want for us. So maybe what we need to do is just stop and repent because the out-of-control lives we are living is not how God wants us to live; it is not how God ordered the world and we know that because God has told us.
One of The Top-10 Commandments
From the Ten Commandments we heard how God wants us to order our lives. Let’s go back to Exodus 20:8-11. God wants us to take deliberate and intentional times to rest. Think about it, there are over 630 laws in the Old Testament and taking time to rest makes God’s top-10 list. God says taking time to rest is right up there with thou shall not murder nor steal nor worship other gods. God is serious about our need for rest and so it is time we started to get serious about it too.
Now this commandment begins to teach us how to live differently. Look at the first word in the commandment: remember. When we begin to slow we are able to stop and remember that God calls us to rest because he created us to have a certain rhythm and flow in life. We need to remember that we are God’s children created in God’s image and God took a day to stop working, rest and renew so we should too.
When we rest we remember that we’re God’s children
This is why worship is so important to our day of rest because worship helps remind us who we are. When we come together in worship we are reminded that we are God’s children, God’s people, created in God’s image; so just like God, we need periods of rest. God created a day to rest because rest is important to the quality of life. Rest is important to the survival of the world.
Think about it, the ground needs time to rest and renew if it is going to produce good crops. Farmers will allow fields to rest for a season or even a year and even the winter is a season of rest for the ground and the snow helps provide water for the next growing season. The world needs rest because it is how God ordered it to be and we are no different. We need rest if we are going to survive in life and faith and the first thing we need to do is to remember that.