Do you find yourself simply reading your Bible without being challenged by it? I do. It’s easy to fall into these ruts, and we all fall into them from time to time. Often there is a variety of factors behind this and they are often connected, but here are 3 reasons I find when I examine my own heart after I’ve fallen into a time like this.
1. I’ve diminished God’s glory
The greatness of God is a key factor in the sense of wonder that often comes from reading the word of God. Sometimes, our appreciation of God’s majesty is diminished which affects our thankfulness, our prayer life and our Bible reading. If this is you, look for a sense of entitlement in your heart. In 2 Chronicles 26, Uzziah, after defeating the Philistines and expanding Jerusalem, had become a prosperous and powerful king. He allowed his success to go to his heart, and this made him proud (2 Chron 26:16), and he decided that he had the right to burn incense in the Lord’s temple—a task that was reserved for the high priest (Ex 30:1-10). His sense of self-worth had overpowered his sense of God’s worth, and he had replaced the majesty of God with his own rights. If our pride grows, our perception of our greatness displaces our perception of God’s greatness. He becomes smaller, and we become greater in our own estimation.[shareable]If our pride grows, our view of ourselves displaces our view of God.[/shareable]
2. I’ve diminish Sin’s sinfulness
We have a tendency to look at sin in one of two ways. Either we see it as such an overwhelming force that cannot be overcome, even by Christ; or we see it as less significant than it is. It is this latter view that I personally struggle with. However, if we see nothing else in the Old Testament, we see the combination of God’s holiness and the seriousness of sin. Paul tells us that the law gives us the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20). This is because in it we see the Law the righteousness of God. Yet, as we discover our sin, we discover the riches of Christ. The grace of God is only as vibrant as our understanding of our need for it, and a vibrant quiet time comes from the joint discovery of our brokenness and the riches of God’s grace. How easy it is to overlook our sin, and how rich it is to discover that the depths of our sin highlights the wonder of His mercy. When we let this go, our heart is hardened against sin.[shareable]The grace of God is only as vibrant as our understanding of our need for it.[/shareable]
3. I’ve diversified my focus
A third reason my time with the Lord grows cold is that I become like Martha, distracted with the world and its demands so that I do not take time to think deeply on what God says in His word. We rush through our quiet time to get it done, not to grow in holiness or to build a relationship with Him. Part of the purpose of a quiet time is to think through the way we think, feel and choose to act, but if we just read quickly and fail to meditate, we walk away with our hearts unchallenged and unchanged.
This is not an exhaustive list. More could be added, and it is likely that you have different reasons your quiet time becomes empty and lifeless. While daily routines easily become mundane, the time we spend with the Lord each day provides us with an opportunity to reconsider afresh who we are and the mercy of God toward us. This should result in grateful humility and a desire to be a blessing firstly to Christ, and His kingdom, which includes fellow believers, and those we have responsibility for. Yet, if you’re like me, these three things will be a constant struggle, and these times with the Lord suffer as a result.