The conversation goes something like this… Q: “How are you doing with the Lord?” A: “Okay, I guess, could be better”. Q: “In what way?” A: “Uh just been busy and no quiet time.” A: “Yeah, I struggle with that too.” Sound familiar? Do you have the same struggle?
Guess what? The problem isn’t lack of quiet time! In fact, it has nothing to do with that.
The idea of daily Bible reading and prayer (i.e. a quiet time) has become synonymous with successful Christian living. Yet when we look at scripture, there is nothing mentioned about this being the key to success. Yes, it is important to pray (see my blog post, 2 Reasons Why Prayer is a Waste of Time). Yes, it is important to study God’s word (see my blog post, Why I Don’t Read the Bible). But the Bible doesn’t say it is the key to a successful Christian life. Scripture is very clear there is only one approach to spiritual success.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
In other words, God has given every Christian a spiritual gift/gifts to be used to help others achieve spiritual success (i.e. “for the common good”). When Christians step into using their spiritual gifts, they will experience the “manifestation of the Spirit”. This means that spiritual success isn’t found in seclusion but in community. Christianity isn’t an isolated experience but is a team sport where we encourage, support, and use our gifts to benefit one another. This is how spiritual success is achieved.
Unfortunately, most Christians today are isolated from relationships and avoid using their spiritual gifts within the local church. Individualizing and privatizing has become the preferred approach with only the “quiet time” as a default. Scripture warns against this approach as leading to spiritual failure on both an individual and church level (1 Corinthians 12:14-27). It’s time we change the narrative and conversation about how to achieve spiritual success. It’s not about “you, it’s about “us”. It’s not about “me”, it’s about “we”. Spiritual success is found when Christians walk together with Jesus.
So what about you? How are you doing with the Lord? Rather than default to a quiet time answer, begin experiencing the manifestation of the Spirit in your life by using your gifts within the local church. Remember, we need each other for spiritual success because God set it up that way!
1 Peter 4:10 – As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace