Fresh Hope – 22nd July 2020

Often the first thing we let go of on our to-do list is intentional time with God. Popular culture rewards whatever is ‘outwards’ – that which is seen. But the kingdom of Heaven, the culture of Heaven, is upside down. It rewards what happens in private. It rewards the unseen – not the hustle, the grind and the productivity.  

We often neglect time with God because we know our gracious God will forgive us if we just go another day without time with Him. But what if time with God isn’t so much about what it does for God, but rather what it does for us?  

Did you know bamboo trees spend years growing their root system underground? From the outside you could look at a bamboo tree and think, ‘where is the fruit? Where is the growth? Why is it not being productive?’. Then all of a sudden, the tree in a matter of days will rocket up 80 feet! If you compared that bamboo tree to the way an oak tree grows, you would consider the bamboo tree a failure. Popular culture likewise looks for showy productivity in order to be considered a success, but sometimes you have to grow some things so deep, in the private, and unseen places of your life first.  

Perhaps we need to shift our efforts and focus less on outward production, and slow down, and invest on the unseen root systems of our lives.  

Intimacy with God, times where you allow God to ‘see into me’, does not just happen. Powerful men and women of God don’t just happen. They are built on the back of intentionality. Any relational bond does not just happen. It is built on the back of intentional time and effort – dates and schedules in the diary, conversations and time invested.   

Don’t get intimidated by the idea that you need to start spending 30 minutes to an hour every morning at 6am with God in order to grow. That kind of pressure is sometimes unrealistic and unsustainable. See intimacy with God as a training ground. Train yourself in the Lord. Spend less effort trying, and more effort training. An athlete doesn’t just run a marathon. They train and train and build up to it. Train yourself in intimacy with God. Start with just 10, undistracted minutes a day, and begin to see how your life changes. Then build from there. Schedule in that time like you would book in an appointment with a friend. If something else comes along, ‘sorry, I’m not free then’, should be your response. Prioritise time with God at all costs.  

Many of us are burnt out, stressed, overwhelmed in the soul, and venting to others that which we should be giving to God. Not making time for God is costing your emotional and spiritual health. Time without God will hurt you and time with God will heal you. 

Let’s not just be good at ‘asking God for stuff’, let’s train to become good at BEING with God and hearing from Him! 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.