To Help Others Grow, We Must Grow, Ourselves

As a new Christian in college, I became involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and was trained in their evangelism and discipleship strategy of "win, build, and send." I spent many exciting hours sharing my faith with other students, building them in Christ in discipleship groups, and sending them out to do the same. In those early years of my Christian life, I learned a simple truth that has stayed with me all through my adult life: I cannot give out what I have not taken in. If I want to help others grow in Christ, I need to be growing in Christ. And the single most reliable indicator as to whether that is happening in my life is if I am spending personal time with God every day.

I have added a husband and four children to my life since those days, but that simple truth has lost none of its strength. When I was in college, I spent only a few hours a week with my "disciples," and—I can admit it now—I could get by in a pinch on a spiritual tank that was running low. Now, though, my"disciples"are with me 24 hours a day, everyday, and there is no hiding it when I am spiritually depleted. And I am further drained when new babies, illnesses, moves, and other crises hit and any extra time in my schedule is used up meeting needs and getting things done. It doesn't take long to find myself running on empty.

Unless I want my spirit to be as dissipated as the space on my calendar, I must make time to be with God—to read the Bible, to pray, to worship God in my spirit, to sing songs of praise. If I'm not taking in, I'll have nothing to give out, much less to sustain my spirit through the times when I most need to live by faith. I have seen that my life almost always tilts out of balance when I don't make time for God. God's Word, though, will revive my soul (see Psalm 19:7), refueling me with the life I need to face each new day.

Even though my need for time with God grows stronger every year, it seems more and more difficult to find the time I need. One would think God would have built in the time in relation to the need, but apparently it doesn't work that way. The greater my need has become for God, the greater my need has become to make time in my life for him. It rarely happens by accident. Perhaps God knows that it will make that time all the more precious if it is hard to come by.

The "easiest" way I have found to make time is to follow the advice of Ben Franklin: early to bed and early to rise. If I get to bed a little earlier, I can get up a little earlier for quiet time. As often as not, though, I find myself sharing my quiet morning space with one or more sonar-eared children. That is why I sometimes leave the house early and go somewhere for coffee and quiet time. When I'm not consistent in the early-to-bed part, I have to make time later in my day to squeeze in a few devotional minutes when the baby is napping and the children are reading.

The key is my own sense of need.  If I listen to the needs of my spirit, I will find a way to make the time to get alone with God. You need to determine when you can best be alone with God and organize your life to make sure it happens.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. ~ Psalm 19:7

Are you finding it difficult to spend time with God? How might you change your schedule to make it happen more regularly?