“You will never be a growing Christian until you develop the disciple-habit of a daily time alone with the Lord through Scripture and prayer.” Scott Corwin
All of us have habits. Some good, and others not so good.
I’m trying to break myself of a bad habit that I developed over a long period of time — drinking LOTS of coffee. It began with a “first pot” I made when I got up each morning for my daily time alone with the Lord. Though my wife would have “a cup” I would usually finish off the pot before she left for work. I would then make another pot of coffee and would finish it off during the work day. Way too much coffee that started affecting my sleep and health.
I had to try to break the bad habit. So, I decided that I would do two things: 1) I would change the way that I drink coffee; I started drinking coffee that wasn’t quite as strong and I would drink it without sugar, and 2) During the day I would drink healthy teas. I admit it was really hard at first, but after a few weeks I established a habit which is the new norm. I broke the old, bad habit, by replacing it with a new, healthier habit.
In a similar way, you can develop the disciple-habit of starting your day with a daily quiet time in Scripture and prayer. First, analyze the way that you normally spend your mornings. Do you wait until the last minute to wake up then throw it into high-gear to get ready to get out of the house to start your work day? Do you stay up too late the night before so that you don’t get the kind of rest you need in order to wake up refreshed? Do you turn on your computer first thing to check email or Facebook? Do you turn on the morning news and/or the radio first thing? Determine your current habits and identify ways that you might rearrange your mornings in order to establish the habit of a quiet time.
Second, make preparations for establishing your new habit. I suggest picking a time and scheduling your quiet time like you would any other important item in your agenda — provided you consider spending time alone with God important! Pick a special place where you will be away from distractions. It might be a special chair in a special room where you can be alone. Make all the necessary arrangements not to be interrupted: turn off your phone, tell your spouse, get away from the computer screen, etc. Gather all of the resources you will need like your Bible, your spiritual notebook, and a pen.
Third, have a specific plan for your quiet time. If you have one of the “Spiritual Journals,” there is a suggested plan on page 6 for a 15 minute time alone with the Lord. If you have attended the “Grow in Maturity” workshop, there is a similar plan on page 22-23. The key is to read a portion from the Bible asking and answering three questions:
1. What are you saying to me, Jesus? (Scripture insight)
2. What do you want to change in me, Jesus? (Attitude? Thought? Action? Character?)
3. What do you want me to do, Jesus? (Application)
Start practicing your new habit and keep after it no mater what. After 3 weeks you will be familiar with the routine, but stay with it. It will take another 3 weeks for that routine to become ingrained in your life as a new habit.
Developing a new habit begins with a choice…a commitment. Remember, Jesus said: “If you remain in my Word, you are really my disciples.” (John 8:31) So, if you are a disciple, make a commitment…right now…to establishing the habit of a daily time alone with God.
Need some help? Attend the next “Grow in Maturity” class. Connect with one of our disciple mentors who can help encourage you and keep you accountable to your daily quiet time. Talk with your friends and small group members about your quiet time. You will help them and they will help you!
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
Finish the full sentence for an added bonus! Meditate on the verse and submit your Scripture insight as a comment.
“Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2
Let’s play a little word association game. I’ll say a word and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Okay? Here we go: “meditation!” What is the first thing that comes to mind?
Go ahead and admit it! You were thinking of some “guru” or “yogi” in some uncomfortable pose chanting some unintelligible word with the intent of emptying his mind of all thoughts. That’s EASTERN meditation but NOT BIBLICAL meditation.
In fact, biblical meditation is the exact opposite; it’s filling your mind and focusing your thoughts on the truths of God’s Word. Meditation is the deliberate and reflective consideration of God’s truth that has as its goal:
1. Determine how God’s truth confronts & challenges you to change, and
2. Discover ways to put God’s truth into practice through obedience.
The best illustration I know of regarding meditation is … yes, I’m serious … a cow. Stop and think about how a cow gets the most from its food by chewing its cud. The cow chews and chews and chews its food, then swallows, regurgitates, and chews some more. The cow obtains the maximum nourishment from what it eats, thoroughly digesting every possible nutrient.
Ruminating on God’s truth through focused thinking helps us get the most out of every morsel of truth. As we meditate on God’s truth, the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth and exposes our lives to its influence. We obtain the maximum benefit and blessing by submitting ourselves to God’s truth, letting God’s Spirit change us, and committing ourselves to obeying.
Want to learn how to meditate on God’s Word? Join us for our “Grow in Maturity” workshop to learn some basic disciple-skills to help you meditate on God’s truth.
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11 (NIV)
Extra Challenge: Add verses 9 & 10 along with 11 to get the flow and full thought of the passage!
Twelve IBCB men went overnight to “Wort des Lebens” on the Köriser See to enjoy Bible study, outdoor activities, discussion, and fun. Scott Corwin led three sessions on “Personal Holiness in Times of Temptation” as we looked at what the Scripture says about living holy lives especially in the face of temptation. Lively discussion times followed as we dealt with the “nitty-gritty” of what it means to live a holy life and how to live it in our every day lives.
It wasn’t all Bible study and discussion! We played a spirited game of indoor crab football, and got into capture-the-flag as well as “field volleyball” in the snow outdoors. We learned a lot about each other sharing meals, rooming together, and talking informally.
In the end we concluded: men need the camaraderie and accountability of other men in order to be all that God intends us to become. We’ve already got plans for our next men’s retreat, and decided that the whole church needs to get in on the fellowship of an all-church retreat sometime in the not too distant future.
[Pictured above L to R: Günter Springer, Bryan Trueschler, Scott Corwin, Mark Morton, Jeff Magiera, Mathias Lehmann, Thorsten John, Max Duong Phu, Benjamin Sundemeier, Adam Knight, Winfried Härtel, and Klaus Ziegler]
Want to follow up on the retreat theme? Then check out these Bible readings and devotional thoughts @ “Men of Integrity” for this week’s “Escape the Trap of Temptation” by clicking here.