The Significance of Time Spent in the Presence of God
We all have seasons in which we long for much-needed rest and renewal from the chaos and noise of the world. You may be in such a season as you read these words. I encourage you to have faith my friend, I hear you, see you, and recognize that you need a respite from the daily toil and pressures of life.
And we know as believers in Christ the One who offers to restore us and give us true peace – God, our Father.
Philippians 4:6-7 AMP assures us, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”
Philippians expresses the significance of time spent in the presence of God. Unfortunately, spending time with God often becomes overshadowed by everything else in our lives, and we end up spending less time in the presence of God and the majority of our time caught up in the busyness of life. This, in turn, creates unhealthy habits that hinder our spiritual growth.
When we neglect our time alone with God, we growth further away from Him, away from His Word, and away from His Truth. We end up in a spiritual desert of sorts where we are no longer nourished by His Word but fed by the ways of the world.
So why is it significant that we spend time daily in the presence of God? Why is it essential to our spiritual maturity that we not allow the disruptions of life to distract us from time spent in quiet reflection? If we truly desire to grow spiritually, we must spend time learning and understanding God’s Word. His Word encourages and strengthens us for our journey.
Let’s take a look at four reasons why it is essential to our spiritual maturity to spend time with the Lord.
To Grow in Our Knowledge of God
The first reason it is essential to spend time alone with God is to grow in our knowledge of Him. To truly grow in our spiritual lives, we must first know the One whom we believe in. Otherwise, how can we know what He is like, or what to believe about Him?
God wants us to know Him. He wants us to know that He is a God of love, compassion, justice, mercy, forgiveness, and so much more. How can we know Him if we are not spending time with Him?
Think of your relationships. If you want to learn more about a person or get to know them better, you spend time with them. You take time to be present for them. God wants the same from us. He expects us to seek Him and spend time with Him. God wants to be a priority to us, not a last-minute, few seconds to give Him moments of reflection but a devoted life honoring Him for all He has done and continues to do.
A beautiful example of a woman who chose to grow in her knowledge of Jesus is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. In Luke 10:38-42, Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His teaching. Mary’s actions made it very clear that she wanted to know Jesus. Holman’s Christian Study Bible tells us, Mary showed her love and devotion to God through her choice to focus on Him and not the busyness surrounding her. Jesus commended Mary for her choice to choose time with Him over the tasks Martha had chosen to do.
Thinking back over the last week, were there any tasks you prioritized over time spent with Jesus? If so, what steps can you take this week to honor God with your time? I encourage you to prayerfully plan your schedule to include sitting at the feet of Jesus.
To Become More Like Jesus
The second reason we must spend time in the presence of God is to become more like Jesus. The goal for us as followers of Jesus is to become more like Him. Mary chose to be more like Jesus. We are called to love God and love others. Mary chose to love God above all else. You see, when we choose to spend time with God and be present before Him, we become more like Him.
James 4:8 assures us that as we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. As we quiet ourselves to spend time with God, we are inviting Him into every area of our life through our devotion to Him.
Take a moment and think about a close relationship. Perhaps it is your husband or a parent. I will assume the reason you have a close relationship with this individual is that you prioritize the relationship by spending time with this person, and you honor the relationship through your actions. The honor you display towards this person cultivates and nurtures the relationship. God seeks the same with us. Just like your personal relationships, whatever it is that we spend our time pursuing will increase and also influence our behaviors and beliefs.
If our goal is to become more like Jesus, spending time with Him must take precedence over our daily schedules and doings. It is key to remember, whatever we draw near to, will draw near to us. Let’s not push Jesus out of our plans. Let’s draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.
Take a moment to list the attributes of Jesus, and once complete, reflect on His qualities. As your desire to become more like Jesus increases, make a commitment to focus on any attributes you need to reinforce to make them a part of your life.
To Discern God’s Will
Romans 12:2 AMP says, “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”
The third reason we must spend time in the presence of God is to hear Him. We’ve learned that we must know God and draw near to Him to become more like him. We must also recognize that what we spend our time pursuing will significantly influence our mindset.
The Bible has much to say about healthy mindsets and thoughts. God’s Word teaches us how to take every thought captive to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5). And, if we abide in His Word, He sets us free (John 8:31-32). God calls us to place our focus on His Truth and to be transformed through His Spirit. To do that requires that we study His Word and converse with Him through prayer.
How do we discern the will of God? The Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). God gave us the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, and protect us on our journey. God knows we will face challenges and temptations in our faith walk, so He has given us, followers of Christ, the Holy Spirit to lead us. We have the mindset of the Spirit, which is life and peace (Romans 8:6), to call upon as we spend time in the presence of God.
As you reflect on Romans 12:2, how will you respond to the scripture? Paul urged believers to respond with a total commitment to God. What steps can you take to commit to renewing your mind to discern the will of God in your life?
To Surrender Our Burdens to God
The fourth reason spending time with God is necessary to our spiritual growth is that we can surrender our burdens to Him, and when we do release our problems to Him, He promises to sustain us in our time of need (Psalm 55:22).
One of the best examples of this in the life of a biblical woman is Hannah. We find her story in 1 Samuel 1, where we learn that Hannah was deeply grieved because she could not conceive a child. On top of that, she endured ridicule from her husband’s second wife over her infertility.
On her family’s annual trips to the Tabernacle to worship God, Hannah took time alone to pray. Many illustrations tell us that she poured out her heart to God. In her prayers, Hannah gave her sadness and heartache over her barrenness to God, and through the encouragement of Eli, the priest, she believed in faith that God would honor her requests. 1 Samuel 1:19 tells us that God remembered Hannah and answered her prayers through the birth of a son and, later, other children as well.
What I find most inspiring about Hannah’s story is the beautiful hymn of praise in 1 Samuel 2:1-11. The hymn is a remarkable illustration of Hannah’s thankfulness to our Most High God.
I encourage you to take time to sit in the presence of the Most High God and read through Hannah’s Song of Thanksgiving, 1 Samuel 2:1-11. As you read through the scripture, praise God for His answered prayers and release your burdens to Him. God will remember you for the honor and glory given to Him in worship.
To Him Be the Glory
Why is it significant that we spend time in the presence of God? If we truly desire to live life in the fullness of Christ, we must spend time learning who God is – what is His truth, learn about His attributes and qualities, be transformed by His word through the renewing of our mind, and give our burdens over to Him trusting God will sustain us in our time of need.
As you earnestly seek God, it is my prayer you will allow Him to speak to you and draw you near. Be ardent in your pursuit of His truths and apply His truths to your life. I pray you will follow His call to be more like Jesus and leave the world’s ideas behind as you know, become, hear, and surrender to Him.
You are a daughter of the King.
Grace and blessings.