My parents instilled in me the habit of daily time in God’s word and prayer at an early age. In my teen years, I struggled to maintain the habit, but these days I wrestle more with the why. Why am I doing this? What’s in my heart? What do I hope to gain from this time?
I think there are several good reasons to spend daily time with God.
1. Increased knowledge about God. Faithfully walking through a daily Bible reading plan increases your overall familiarity with the things of God.
Paul prayed that God would give the Ephesian believers “the Spirit…of revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1:17 ESV). Don’t minimize the importance of the foundational activity of increasing your knowledge about God. This is necessary for an experience of God. If your experience of God is not informed by the scriptures, it may not be God you are experiencing.
As we seek to know God through memorizing and mediating on the biblical stories and instructions, we are shaped in our thinking and character. We begin to think like the Bible thinks, and the result is that we begin to live as the Bible directs. This leads to the next benefit of daily time with God.
2. Increased wisdom for life. Paul also prayed that God would give the Ephesian Christians, “the Spirit of wisdom” (Eph. 1:17). When we think of gaining wisdom from God’s Word, our minds probably go to the book of Proverbs. But, all of Scripture is intended to teach us how to live faithfully before God (2 Tim. 3:16). Don’t downplay the dos and don’ts of passages like Colossians 3:5-17 and 1 Corinthians 5-14 (most of the book!).
We might call point 1 “the foundation.” We need to grow in our knowledge about God.
And we might call point 2 “the result.” Daily time with God should affect the way we live.
But neither of these are the heart – the true why – of daily time with God. In fact, just before Paul’s prayer for wisdom and knowledge for the Ephesians, he spent 12 verses, Ephesians 1:3-14, rejoicing in the gospel!
In Christ, God the Father has “blessed us…with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…,” chosen and adopted us, redeemed and forgiven us, lavished grace upon us, given us an eternal inheritance (Himself!), and given us the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of that inheritance. These truths cause Paul to burst forth in praise!
The purpose of daily time with God is happiness in God.
3. Increased happiness in Christ. Above all, I hope to get up from my kitchen table and my time with the Lord each day delighting in what Christ has done for me. Like you, I don’t always reach this goal, but I think that just knowing what the goal is helps me reach it more often.