Many Christians believe that the most important thing a Christian can do is to “spend time with God.” This usually consists of devoting 30-60 minutes a day to reading one’s bible, praying, and – if one likes – journaling. Some Christians refer to this as “devotions,” “devotional time, ” or “quiet time.”
Everywhere I go I hear Christians talk about how important it is to spend time with God. The vibe I get is that this 30-60 minutes we’re supposed to “spend with God” is the most important thing that a Christian can do (at least, that’s what they make it seem like).
It’s as if God cares about getting a little time slot in our day above everything else.
But is God’s biggest concern that you “spend time” with him? Is that all God wants? Is that what’s most important to Him? Does God care more about you spending 30-60 minutes each day reading the bible and praying than he does about everything else?
The answer: No, its not the most important thing. It’s only one piece of a larger puzzle; one element of a larger story. It’s important, but it’s one of many equally important things.
The problem with believing that “spending time with God” is the most important thing a Christian can do is that it elevates one activity and aspect of faith and life above the others. It makes this activity/aspect more important than that activity/aspect. It creates a dichotomy – a separate, divided-worldview – that causes us to view some things as more important than other things (when in reality, they are all equally important).
Breathing oxygen, eating food, and drinking water are three life essentials needed in order for humans to keep on living. Stop breathing, and eventually you will pass out and die. Stop eating, and after a couple weeks you will die. Stop drinking water, and after about a week you will die.
All three of these elements are essential to human life. You need all three of them in order to survive and thrive in life. One is not more important than the others. They are all equally important. Take out one and leave the other two, and you will eventually die.
Again, you need all of them in order to live. Take one of the three out of the equation and you can’t live.
Just as it is with our physical health, so it is with our spiritual health. If we elevate one activity and aspect above another, we’ll neglect the others, and eventually become spiritually sick and apathetic (which will affect the other areas of our life).
The reality is that all activities and aspects of our faith and life matter to God.
Prayer, Bible study, serving others, work, money, giving, loving our neighbor, our heart and character, resting, teaching, our thoughts, our health, social justice, ecology, having meals together, and more all matter to God. They are all important.
God is a part of all these activities and aspects of life, not just when we “spend time” with him; and we need all of these activities and aspects in order to be healthy, holistic human beings.
God wants more than just 30-60 minutes a day with you. God is interested in more. God wants you to spend your life with him, not just spend some time with him.
Yes, it is definitely important to read your bible. Yes, it is definitely important to pray. Yes, it is definitely important to have “quiet times.” But we must be careful not to uphold “quiet time” as more important than all the other aspects and activities of life and faith.
You need food, water, and oxygen to survive. Take one of the three out of the equation and you will not be able to live. So it is with our faith. We need all aspects and activities, not just one or two. Spend your life with God – every activity and aspect – and you’ll see your faith, character, and life grow in ways you never thought possible.