Diligence and efficiency are admirable qualities extolled in the Proverbs. Redeeming the time is a command in Scripture (Ephesians 5:16). Being busy serving God and others is a worthy use of the time He has given us. However, we often slide into unbalanced excess which can send us into periods of spiritual dryness.
You feel like you’ve done your duty, but something is missing. The intimacy you once experienced with God has fled. You feel spiritually dry. What’s wrong with your spiritual life? “Why are these people so slow?” I fumed as I weaved my way between shoppers at Walmart. I had just returned to the U.S. from urban Asia where the throttle of the pace of life is always wide open. Go! Go! Go! My to-do list burned a hole in my pocket. There was no time to waste. No time to sit still. No time to be quiet.
Have you been there? Your internal clock is ticking as you read the Word of God. All the responsibilities of the day intrude on your thoughts. When God’s allotted time is done, you check the devotions box and move to the next item on the checklist. You feel like you’ve done your duty, but something is missing. The intimacy you once experienced with God has fled. You feel spiritually dry. What’s wrong with your spiritual life?
Noise, Hurry, & Crowds
Long before Jim Elliot left the Pacific Northwest to serve as a missionary in Ecuador, he confronted spiritual dryness in his walk with God. He diagnosed his problem as a lack of quietness in his life.
In a letter to his mother from his college dormitory, twenty-one-year-old, Elliot quoted Isaiah 30:15: “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” He went on: “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. If he can keep us hearing radios, gossip, conversation, or even sermons, he is happy. But he will not allow quietness. . . . I am finding your counsel to get enough sleep most practical, Mother. Not only to be fit for the day and able to relax, but for spiritual awareness and reception one must simply be rested if he is to be blessed. Let us resist the devil in this by avoiding noise as much as we can, purposefully seeking to spend time alone, facing ourselves in the Word. . . . Satan is aware of where we find our strength.”
We must quiet ourselves before God and His Word so that we can hear His voice and follow His leading. Amid the conflict and turbulence of life, we must “be still and know” that God is God (Psalm 46:10). We must lay aside the urgent, yet distracting, matters of the day so we can commune with Him.