The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
As this year draws to a close and we look forward to the year ahead, we are looking at how to live without spiritual regrets. Yesterday we saw that God can still use you, no matter how many years you have wasted. Another spiritual regret many people have is this: “I wish I had spent more time reading the Bible and praying.” They look back on their life up to this point and say, “I’ve frittered away so much time watching television, watching sports, reading the newspaper, and laboring at a job from which one day I’ll either retire or be fired. I wish I had exerted some of that effort in building my relationship with God. I regret that wasted time.”
Somebody has said that the chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken. And many times we get into the habit of not spending time with God, and it’s very difficult to turn around. Sometimes people will say, “I’ve wasted so much time. I’ll tell you what, I’m going to make a vow—I will never watch TV again. I’ll never watch sports, and I’ll never read another newspaper. From this point on, I’m only going to read my Bible.”
You know, that’s like a person forty-five years of age who has never exercised a day in their life waking up and, tired of their flabby condition, saying, “You know what? I’m going to start running six miles a day, seven days a week.” Such a commitment is unwise and is certainly short-lived. A better plan is for the person to start a moderate and a consistent program of exercise.
Now, let me say to those of you who have said, “My prayer time, my time in God’s Word has been sporadic. I want to start a consistent devotional time rather than an overzealous plan for reading God’s Word.” I want to give you a practical suggestion today, if in fact your spiritual life needs improvement. It’s a challenge I read in Robert Foster’s book Seven Minutes with God. If you will commit to spending seven minutes with God every day, make that an unbreakable appointment with God every morning, it will revolutionize your life. And let me suggest what you do during that seven minutes.
The first thirty seconds spend just thanking God for the restful night you’ve had and for watching over you, asking Him for His guidance during the day. Then spend the next four minutes opening God’s Word and reading a psalm, a proverb, a section from the New Testament, not with the goal of increasing your Bible knowledge, but asking God to show you a truth that you can apply in your life that day. Then, after you spend those four minutes reading the Scripture, spend the final two and a half minutes praying. You might follow the acrostic A-C-T-S. The A stands for “adoration,” praising God for who He is. The C stands for “confession,” confessing your sins to God. The T stands for “thanksgiving,” thanking God for what He has already done for you. And the S stands for “supplication,” asking God for something specific.
Spend time praying, reading the Bible, and praying again. Soon you will discover that your time with God stretches from seven minutes to many more. Again, the real answer is not intensity; it’s consistency in your walk with God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Living without Spiritual Regrets” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.