Monday, July 10, 2006

Quiet Time Tyranny

It seems that honest posts about "quiet times" or "morning devotions" are hard to come by in the blogosphere, but Tim Challies has thrown his ring into the hat with his most recent post, "The Tyranny of the Quiet Time." He very honestly admits his own struggles while exhorting Christians not to view our "quiet time" as a performance to merit God's favor. However, Challies admits that this is often the case. I've commented on this fact recently, and I was thrilled to read this most recent post. I leave you with a couple of paragraphs to whet your appetite:

Perhaps you, like me, have too often turned quiet time into a performance. If we perform well for God, we enter our day filled with confidence that God will bless us, and that He will have to bless us. We feel that our performance has earned us the right to have a day filled with His presence, filled with blessings, and filled with confidence. And, of course, when we turn in a poor performance, we feel that God is in heaven booing us and heaving proverbial rotten vegetables in the form of removing His presence and, in the words of a friend, "dishing out bummers."

Quiet time becomes tyrannical when we understand it as a performance. Bridges provides a pearl of wisdom. "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." Whether we are having a good day or a bad day, the basis of our relationship with is not our performance, for even our best efforts are but filthy rags, but grace. Grace does not just save us and then leave us alone. No, grace saves us and then sustains us and equips us and motivates us. We are saved by grace and we then live by grace. Whether in the midst of a good day or bad, God does not base His relationship with us on performance, but on whether or not we are trusting in His Son.

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