Spending time praying and reading God’s Word is the best way to fill your spiritual tank. Unfortunately, these life-giving activities are viewed by many believers as more of an obligatory chore than a nourishing, refreshing privilege. I understand why. If you grew up in church, you’ve heard all your life that you “ought” to have quiet time every day—around the same time in our lives we were badgered to eat the vegetables we didn’t like, do homework we didn’t want to finish, and take baths we didn’t think we really needed.
In other words, we’re conditioned to view “oughts” as unpleasant things, even if we grudgingly acknowledge that they’re good for us. It’s tragic that time with God and His Word is mentally lumped into that category by so many Christians. The truth is that, like the Sabbath rest itself, it isn’t for His benefit. Nor is it something that wins us brownie points with Him. It’s for our enjoyment and benefit.
Charles Stanley has written, “We can be tired, weary, and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power, and strength.” He’s right. The fact is, taking time to be alone and still with God isn’t a gift to Him. It’s a gift to yourself—a very necessary gift. God’s Word makes it clear that we’re in a daily battle, against a very real enemy. There is a reason that the Apostle Paul follows an encouragement to “be strong in the Lord” (in other words, keep your spiritual tank full) with a warning about the spiritual conflict we encounter each day:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Paul follows this advice with the familiar passage about putting on “the whole armor of God.” Clearly, Paul understood something that many of us do not. Namely, that we’re in a daily war with invisible enemies. They are not “flesh and blood,” but rather are “spiritual hosts of wickedness.” I don’t point this out in order to scare you. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
However, you are vulnerable to attack if your spiritual tank is chronically empty. I’m exhorting you the same way Paul exhorted his young protégé: “Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1, emphasis added). I’m encouraging you to “be strong” spiritually. And I’m praying for you, dear reader, just as Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus. I’m asking God:
...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:16)
In other words, I’m saying, keep your spiritual tank overflowing!
Robert Morris appears this Monday and Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Take The Day Off by Robert Morris. Copyright ©2019 by Robert Morris. Published by FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Used by permission.