I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday and we were discussing “quiet times”… You know those things that churchy people have determined that everyone must have to be able to form a relationship with God. He was relaying to me the notion that he feels very guilty and like a failure when he does not get up in the morning to have his quiet time with his Lord.  You know, something struck me as he was talking… Wow, if I had a best friend and I always felt guilty because I didn’t spend enough time with him, then I would probably start feeling like I just didn’t want to be around him at all. As we were talking, I remembered feeling that same way when I was caught up in a “mandatory” quiet time. You see, I believe that Jesus is my best friend and my Father in Heaven is truly my Loving Dad! So, why would I feel “obligated” to have a “quiet time” with him? I am not sure that there is supposed to be “obligation” in love… motivation maybe, desire for sure. But obligation… duty… requirements… just doesn’t feel right to me.

My God is my lover, He is my hope and He is my Dad… He leaves me feeling alive and free and hopeful and joyful and needy and sad because I want to be closer to Him. Thank you God that I no longer feel duty or obligation, but desire. You see the next time you are putting God in the “Church Box” as I call it, remember that He doesn’t want you to feel obligated to sit with him and then beat yourself up when you don’t get up in time or are distracted by whatever else is going on around you. He wants you to long to spend time with him and want to talk with him. Guess what? I can do that every minute of everyday. I can pray in the 10 minutes I have before I go to bed or I can talk with Him as I am writing this blog! Wow, that’s a true friend… He will never leave us nor forsake us. That means He is always there – not just at 6am in the morning when others have told me I am supposed to be “with God”. Think about it… would you rather have a friend that only talks to you because someone told him that he must and then he only meets with you at a “prearranged time”? Or would you rather have a friend that wants to talk to you and can’t wait to see you and talks to you any chance he gets, regardless if its for an hour or 10 minutes? I want a friend that desires to see me and can’t wait to talk to me. I think Jesus deserves that as well and I know my Dad loves it when His children come to Him when they want to, not in obligation. That’s why He gave us free will.

Worried that you need to be obligated to do a “quiet time” because then you might find you don’t really want to spend a lot of time with God? Ask Him to change that in your heart… He is faithful to do that as well. You see, I found that there was very few things I could do on my own, even loving Him well was something He taught me! He’s good at that… He is also my Teacher!

Galatians 5:22-23 says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-discipline. Doesn’t that mean the Holy Spirit produces this fruit? It doesn’t say the fruit of “Me” is love, peace, patience, etc. I think as I get to know Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to draw me closer to Him, I will begin to listen more closely to Him and I will desire to know Him and talk with Him. Remember, friendship is a 2-way street right? There may be times He calls me and says, “I want to talk with you today”. It is then that I also grow in my desire to listen to Him during those times because I can’t wait to talk with Him! Just be careful that you don’t live under rules and regulations of whens and hows! Love is a great motivator… let Him show you!

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