A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker, Jeremy Curry.
Feeling lonely? Need hope and encouragement? Then, don’t miss this week’s devotional. The message could change your life.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Gone are the days of the wrist watch. Often beautifully banded in silver or gold watches have been replaced by the durable, everyday worn plastic and metal used in our smartphones. Before all of us had a digital clock at the ready in our pocket, there would be times that we would have to stop and ask a stranger, “Do you have the time?” In today’s busy world, we don’t even have the time to stop to ask what the time is. The smartphones that have replaced our wristwatches have made it so convenient to stay connected to everyone that we often don’t even talk to each other anymore. Instead of picking up the phone to call a friend, we send them a text. If we want to congratulate someone or wish them happy birthday, we put it on Facebook. It seems so odd that we have started to communicate this way when studies suggest that over 90% of our communication is nonverbal. This new way of communicating to one another has made us so connected to the world that we have, in fact, become detached from one another.
With the limited amount of time we have available, what are we doing with it? On average, Facebook users spent an average of 6 hours 44 minutes on the site last March. What about other social media sites like Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn? A news report from CNBC late last year shows that Americans spent a combined total of 121 billion minutes on social media sites in July 2012. In case you don’t want to do the math in your head; that is about 230,060 years of time consumed in just one month! And, we can only assume that the number has increased as social media continues to become a greater part of our lives. What if you are less of a social media buff and still interested in good, old-fashioned TV? Statistics tell us that the average American watches about 4 hours of TV per day. Taking those numbers into account, you will have watched TV for a total of 9 years by the time you reach 65. Surprised? I know I was.
Why all of the statistics about what we are doing with our time? They’re just numbers anyway, right? Wrong. The first verse we study this week tells us that we should seek first His kingdom. For some reason, God didn’t tell me that I should check Him out on Facebook first by doing some type of awesome sleuth work via Facebook-stalking. Or, that I should lurk in the background and watch his tweets, and even more odd, He didn’t ask me to check out his cool ideas on Pinterest. Maybe He will join Instagram soon and I’ll only need to look at pictures and videos He posts? <smile> God doesn’t ask us to do any of those things. Instead, we often read about seeking God first via reading His Word, including David teaching Solomon (the wisest man ever) to seek Him (see 1 Chronicles 28:9). While you and I may not be exactly the same as “average” as the statistics suggest, we should be asking what we are doing with our time. Are we spending it working, are we spending it on Facebook, or are we spending time truly seeking God?
Obviously, most of us are spending time doing other things. Maybe we need to take a better look at why we should be seeking God? I think if we are honest with ourselves, spending time with God is one of the most difficult challenges we face. Why? Perhaps because we can’t see Him? Or, perhaps because we can’t audibly hear Him? But, let me ask you: How good is your relationship with your friends that you never spend time with? How close are you to the people you never invite over to your house? Relationships are about time. We must invest time with each other if we want to become close to someone. The same is true for God. I don’t know about you, but I would love to feel closer to God every single day of my life. Do you need encouragement in your life? Do you need hope? Our passage from Romans this week specifically tells us spending time in God’s Word gives us those things. Hope and encouragement are something I can sure use more of. How about you? This is exactly why we should be spending more time with our Father. God loves us so much that His command as simple as to seek Him brings us to an emotional state that we all want.
Not only does seeking Him via reading His Word and praying bring us hope and encouragement, but it helps subdue our fears. After all, hope and fear have an extremely difficult time co-existing as hope wipes out the fear from our minds. It keeps us on a righteous path God wants us to follow.
Have you ever had a specific point in your life when you veered from the path? I know I have. I explicitly remember one time I went off the path and when I came back, I found that the time I took a wrong turn was when I had ceased doing my daily devotional. The lack of spending time with God sent me spiraling in the way of the wicked. Have you been there? Christian speaker, David Edwards, said it best this way, “All rebellion begins in isolation.” When we don’t spend time with God, we are isolating ourselves from Him, opening ourselves up to enemy attack. As we read in Luke chapter 5, even Jesus, who is closest to the Father, often “withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Wow. If the Savior of the world needed to be with our Father and pray, how much time should we, as sinners, be spending in prayer with God?
Let’s take a challenge together this week. The next time we want to turn on the TV or grab our smartphone or tablet; let’s instead open God’s Word. Or, take that time and pray. I’m certain our Facebook and TV can wait while we do what our Father in Heaven asks us to do and seek Him. When we do the will of our Almighty God, who immeasurably loves us more than anything else, we will be blessed. Our fears will subside. We will be given hope. We will have encouragement. Are these things you want? Then, let me ask you, “Do you have the time?”
Father, we ask that you bless us this week as we work to seek You as You have asked us to do. Please bless us by making our fears subside, by giving us hope and encouragement. Grow our friendships closer with others, strengthen our families, and renew our relationship with you and others who need our time as we make You a priority in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.