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Monday, June 08, 2009

CR Principle 7

Principle 7 says I reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps 10 and 11)

I think it’s in Isaiah somewhere, where God says something like, “Come, let’s talk this over. I can handle your issues and give you victory.” You know, preachers are always preaching to us about this personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have to admit that I’d heard it so much it had begun to sound like rhetoric. I didn’t grasp anything about it and assumed the people who did were either religious fanatics or were so godly I could never have what they had with God.

Establishing a daily quiet time with God, for self examination, Bible reading and prayer was no less a challenge for me than any of the other principles. It seemed there would be no end to the distractions and good, plausible reasons why I could not do this.

But two things helped motivate me. First, I got a daily devotional and began to use that to help develop the discipline. If I missed a day or two, I would be conscientious about making it up --- doing two or three daily devotionals at once. Eventually, it got easier and became more habit. (I felt strange if I missed.)

The second thing that helped me was when my sponsor told me it would be impossible for me to be transformed by something with which I was not familiar. I pondered that statement a bit. It seemed a bit rude. But I realized it made sense. How could I expect to be transformed by something I wasn’t willing to spend time with?

So I began to read with expectation. I would sit down with my Bible and an ink pen. I would underline things that seemed to speak to me, or seemed particularly relevant. It didn’t take long before I was finding something to underline every single day. Then I added a journal to it. I didn’t have anything to write in the journal every day. But I kept it with my Bible and jotted down things when they came up. What emerged there was a pattern of self examination, me journaling my examination with God.

Later I added another journal, a separate notebook in which to write things I thought God was telling me. That began to fill up. I began to see all sorts of things that God was telling me in the Bible. Most of them I would put in the category of God’s will for my life (although some just seemed like wisdom).

Today, I keep a Bible with three different colored pens to underline and make notes in. When one Bible gets full, I put it on the shelf and purchase another translation and start working through that. I keep both notebooks with my Bible and take my daily quiet time with me even when I travel. I couldn’t be without it. But this has been a pattern that I had to be intentional about developing.

I will reserve a daily time with the Lord for self examination, Bible reading and prayer. It’s a commitment that you must make. It will pay off. But keep in mind that it is not your human nature to do this, and the enemy will oppose you. So unless you are intentional, it won’t happen.

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