Devotions, Quiet Time, Personal Bible Study. Is It Really Necessary?

God is not interested in your quiet time or devotions or personal Bible study. His interest is YOU.

Many of us began the New Year with a renewed desire to spend time growing in the Lord.   The problem is … we don’t always know what that means or how to do it.   So we do what we heard all the super spiritual people do and commit to reading the whole Bible in a year and taking notes about all we learn along the way.   We choose a one-year reading plan and jump from Genesis to Psalms to Proverbs and finally to Matthew … and within a few a few days our enthusiasm wanes and our exhaustion wins.   We start sleeping a few minutes later with promises to ourselves that we’ll catch up.

But somehow, the catching up doesn’t occur.  Life keeps spinning and we feel the guilt heaping on our hearts from another failed attempt to have a good quiet time.

Can you relate?

Friends, I have the best news — God is not interested in your quiet time or devotions or personal Bible study. His interest is YOU. 

God isn't interested in your quiet time. His interest is YOU! Click To Tweet

Is time in the Word important?  Absolutely.  It’s one of the best ways we have to grow in our understanding of the knowledge of God and His plans for us.   But, please hear this from my heart, reading your Bible every day is NOT the same thing as spending time with God every day.   The two can happen simultaneously but they don’t always.

Is time in the Word important? Absolutely. It's one of the best ways we have to grow in our understanding of the knowledge of God and His plans for us. But, please hear this from my heart, reading your Bible every day is NOT the same thing as spending time with God every day. The two can happen simultaneously but they don't always.

Yes, I encourage to have a time of personal Bible study and prayer every day.   Not so you can check it off on your list of “things good girls do” but so God can reveal Himself to you and you can grow more intimate with Him.  Over the next few days, I’m going to give you some suggestions for how to make this happen, some resources that have proven useful to me, and some encouragement for learning to carve out that time.

But  before we get into all of that, I want to lay this foundation … Just like we cannot do enough good things to earn our salvation, we cannot complete enough Bible studies to earn God’s favor.    Time with the Lord isn’t about that.  It’s more like this:

A few weeks ago I went to lunch with a friend.   We chatted about the mundane realities of our lives and shared some funny stories about things that had annoyed us.   We enjoyed our lunch and sat for two hours after our plates had been cleared.   We talked about the worries we were carrying and the joy we’d been finding in the most unusual places.   We laughed a lot.  We cried a little bit.  We encouraged each other and there were even times of silence, just enjoying being in the company of a friend.

But it can also be like this:

Last week I got a call from a friend who was exhausted.  Weary from some difficult situations she’d been facing, she just needed to hear a voice tell her that she wasn’t a failure.   We talked for less than five minutes but when we hung up she had a renewed heart from being reminded of her value.

God meets us where we are.  Sometimes He lingers long with us relishing a slow conversation.  But He is just as present when we escape to the bathroom holding tight to our Bibles and crying out, “I need you.”

What is your biggest struggle in maintaining a consistent quiet time?

Other Posts You May Find Helpful:

10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time

10 {more} Tips for a Great Quiet Time

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This post is part of a series. You can find all  Starting Well in 2012 posts indexed here.

17 Replies to “Devotions, Quiet Time, Personal Bible Study. Is It Really Necessary?”

  1. I have to admit that I do get things confused in my mind about doing my quiet time and “checking” it off my list. I sincerely want to spend time with God and seek Him and know Him and hear from Him, and I’m just not sure I know another way to do it than by reading and praying. I pray and read every morning through the week. I am following a 21 day plan (although it takes me longer to finish). I know that God is after my heart and not my behavior and I know he loves me regardless of what I do, but sometimes I finish reading with a feeling of, “ok, I read the bible, but didn’t really get anything out of it.” Although I get discouraged a lot, I keep pushing thru..I know he will bless me in the middle of my confusion.

    Im looking forward to reading your blog to read what has worked for you and your helpful advice. Thanks for writing!

    1. Carrie, yes, we do have to spend time in prayer and the Word to know Him … but it doesn’t have to “look” a certain way. That is, maybe for this season you can just sit and read through the Gospels and see Jesus at work in the lives of those around Him … no need to journal or follow a specific daily plan. But there are those seasons when we need the plan … because without it, we’d give up. When we “feel” like God isn’t even there.

      I’ll be writing more about my thoughts and experiences in these areas over the next few days.

      Glad you are here with us!

  2. This was so needed today, Teri Lynne. I love Bible Study. I love reading. There are so many days where I find checking off the study becomes priority. I feel tired and empty when I am done. I know that is not what God meant by His desiring to spend with us. I am having to redo my quiet time with HIM to focus on HIM and what He wants from me. Sometimes my “studying” is at a different time. I don’t want my desire to learn to compete or replace my time with Him. It was so nice to read your article today because I needed that reminder. There are days where a two minute devotional speak volumes to me; I spend the rest of the day in prayer thinking about it. There are days it takes an hour of reading and studying before I feel a connection was made. I just know I want to feel closer in Walk with Him each day. My desire is in that. As long as I seek that, He provides! Thanks for sharing!

    1. THIS? Yes, exactly!!

      “I am having to redo my quiet time with HIM to focus on HIM and what He wants from me. Sometimes my “studying” is at a different time. I don’t want my desire to learn to compete or replace my time with Him.”

      Thank you, Laura.

  3. TL, I can’t wait to walk along with you this week to see what you have in store for us.

    1. Thanks, Cherie. I’m excited about this whole series … it’s been challenging to me to write and to live it out.

      Glad you are joining in!

  4. Brooke McGlothlin (@BrookeWrites) says: Reply

    I love this Teri Lynne. My biggest struggle is my husband’s schedule. I don’t say that to complain, but as I get older, it becomes harder and harder for me to stick to my own schedule when his changes constantly. There’s really only one shift he works that makes it easy…daylight. On 3-11 I can’t go to sleep until he’s home, which makes me want to sleep in. And on midnights I can barely sleep at all, which makes it next to impossible to get up early.

    But I’m learning this: often I’ll get this feeling. It’s a feeling like I need to be alone. I used to think it was just because I’m such an introvert, but I’m learning now that when I get this urge to remove myself it’s because I need to spend some time with the Lord. I really believe that He sees us in the stage of life we’re in, and calls us away with Him to replenish when we need it. The key is being sensitive enough to the way He calls us away that we can recognize it and respond.

    Just my thoughts 🙂 Wonderful series!
    Brooke McGlothlin (@BrookeWrites) recently posted…how to overcome fear {on thorns in the flesh}My Profile

    1. I know that feeling, Brooke. A beckoning to come away, to be still. Oh you are right – the key is being aware enough to hear the call and go be with Him.

      The ebb and flow of life creates it own set of challenges, doesn’t it? I struggle more when school is out and even on Fridays when my husband is off work. Our schedules and routines are not a vacuum … they are profoundly affected by everything else – like husband’s shift work and children’s sleep patterns.

      I don’t know the answers but I am thankful to have sisters to walk this out alongside.

  5. You already saw my repost of this on FB this morning…but it’s true. I’m really focusing on the journey this year, rather than the checklist or the destination…even though I have set goals for myself, they’re not ones I’ll beat myself up over if I don’t finish.

  6. I love this, Pattie … “focusing on the journey this year, rather than the checklist or the destination.” That’s got to bring some real freedom.

  7. I love the analogy you give about conversations with friends! It’s so true that it can look different depending on your needs. Love, “God meets us where we are.”
    Sandra recently posted…2012 Reading ListMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Sandra. I think realizing that helped me more than anything in my understanding of “quiet time.” My conversations with the same friend can be very different depending on the circumstances. So too my time with God will {should?!} be reflective of my situation and needs.

  8. Oh, how thankful I am that God connected me with you. I mean, I understand it is a small connection. It is special, though, because He has used the overflow of your life through words to impact me more than once. This topic is such a struggle for me – it causes me false guilt – even when I think I’ve reconciled it with myself – it pokes its ugly head up again and again…

    I want to use this type-A personality for His glory – not my self-loathing feasts. Thank you for bringing a reality check to me at a time I needed it. Yes, the start of a new year brings with it introspection that leads me down a path of what I “should” be doing. Not gonna go there this time. Nope! Thank you for sharpening the focus God wants us to have on this thing called Quiet Time. 🙂

    1. Oh LeAnn! You are blessing to me. I am thankful for our connection as well. And I too struggle with that false guilt … but I am learning (slowly!) that He is satisfied with me longing for Him. How that plays out on any given day isn’t really the issue … it’s simply that my heart yearns for Him.

  9. […] Devotions, Quiet Time, Personal Bible Study. Is It Really Necessary? […]

  10. This is so good! Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the method of it all and forget the heart of meeting with God! I can definitely tell the difference when I’ve just done it to get the check mark, versus doing it to the depth of heart connection.

  11. […] Devotions, Quiet Times, Personal Bible Study.  Is is really necessary?  “God is not interested in your quiet time or devotions or personal Bible study … His interest is YOU.” […]

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