Big Questions – Day 1
Recently, an acquaintance of mine sent me a list of really good, tough questions about Christianity and Reformed theology. I have decided to post the questions and my answers to them here over the next five days (1 question per day) in hopes that it may help someone else, or at the very least get a good discussion going. Please feel free to throw your comments out there, add some more Scripture, or offer counterpoints.
Question # 1:
What does it look like to have a daily relationship with God that is not going through the motions? The other day our pastor said that he didn’t think you had to have a quiet time to spend time with God, you could just hang out with God during the day. That sounds great, but how do you do that in practical terms?
I would guess that the majority of Christians know neither what this means nor looks like. So, being prideful enough to venture an answer, I’ll give it my best shot. The first thing that goes into having a daily relationship with God is to realize that we’re never outside of his sight or presence. That means that God is always with us, no matter whether we’re singing worship songs in church or cussing out bad drivers in our car.
Use the analogy of human relationships to consider the elements of your relationship with God. We communicate, we spend time with, we think about, and we act toward other people that we are in various relationships with. For example, if you are acquainted with someone, you will say hi and acknowledge their presence, and might meet up with them every once in a while for a special occasion (like a birthday or game night). But if you truly love someone, you will talk with them regularly, you will spend time thinking about them and want their desires to be fulfilled, and you’ll work toward that end with your actions, words, and thoughts. This is the same way with God. If we only know who he is, nothing in our life will drastically change at all. We will acknowledge him when we see a miracle or a spiritual thing on TV, and we will meet up with him every few Sundays, especially Easter and Christmas. But if we truly love him, it will show in how we treat others, in how often we talk with him (prayer), how much we think about and consider what he thinks about everything (ethical issues, morality, etc.), how often we read his revelation to us (the Bible), and how much his presence affects our lives (are we being sanctified on a daily basis, or are we limping along in our spiritual development, hoping we’re doing the right things?).
While it is insufficient and breaks down after a while, human relationships serve as a decent analogy for our daily walk with God. So when your pastor said that we don’t necessarily have to have a 20 to 60 minute block of time where we read the Bible and journal our thoughts (the proverbial ‘quiet time’), he meant that our daily relationship with God isn’t determined by how many pages of a journal we’ve filled or how many times we’ve read through the Bible. Rather it’s how deep a spiritual intimacy we have with the Lord (how well we know him and how well he knows us), and how much of an impact God is having on our daily lives (our progressive sanctification).