Sometimes, I wonder what Paul the Apostle would say if we asked him about his “quiet time.”
I literally just laughed out loud while writing that thought down. I’m not making fun, it’s just that the Spirit of God burned within Paul with such intensity that the thought of the phrase “quiet time” catches a bit awkwardly in my throat. If I had the chance, I don’t think I could bring myself to say the phrase to him out loud. Why? One reason is there’s a good chance I would have had to have whispered it through prison bars for him to hear it. Can you imagine that? Me reaching through bars to touch him, trying to find a place that isn’t bruised or cut and say,
“Psst, hey Paul, have you had your… quiet time today?”
Again, I’m not making fun. I’m just having my very own sober moment here.
We are history’s “safe Christians.”
We are the Christians of plenty.
We are the marketeers of faith.
We are clever… but are we powerful in the Spirit?
Don’t think for a second that I begrudge the blessings of God. This isn’t another church-bashing post. I love my church fiercely. God’s church is the greatest force for benevolence on the planet, without even a close competitor. This is just Wes looking at the fire of Paul and saying, ”Where has the flame gone? Have I traded fire for “quiet time”?
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Those were his words. They could have been his response to my question, for that matter. It’s been a good long while since I’ve heard someone describe their quiet time like that. Actually, I can’t remember anyone ever saying that to me. Paul wanted to be with God more than he wanted breath in his lungs.
I want to want God like that.
Good grief, this journal post started out pretty vanilla and then heated up really fast on the forge today. I won’t say I’m sorry, though. I won’t make excuses for myself either. How can I? Paul’s bruises embarrass me, and God’s love constrains me. This was a wake up call for me. Maybe, for you, too.
Sometimes, when I’m journaling on the Ink-Forge, I just go with it. I write the best I can, and ask God to move the pen and write through me. This is one of those days. I pray that God speaks to you. Right now, young believers are who come to mind, so I’m going to roll with that.
Maybe you haven’t been exposed to many of the things that some of the older generations have. If that is the case, then this next part is for you.
I have tears for you this morning. I know it’s not an easy journey but I promise you, knowing God, is the worthwhile journey you can bank on!
I want to explain that I’m not instructing you to seek Paul’s cuts and bruises. That’s just crazy, and trust me, you’ll have plenty of life’s bruises before you’re done living your life. I’m saying that pain can and does play its part in sanctification. In other words, sometimes it’s easier to know God when God and your bruises are all that you have. He can tend a wound like no one else. The God of comfort is often strangely revealed and wonderfully known in our pain. Don’t be afraid.
Regarding your pursuit of Him, don’t be safe anymore. Listen closely. This isn’t a post about being reckless, it’s about spiritual valor. God Hunters do not approach the things of faith timidly. Practically speaking, stop letting your pastor feed you your only spiritual meal of the week. Feed yourself from his Word. Find its promises and stand on them. If your heart is pounding with something to say in your youth group, say it! That is spiritual fire trying to come out. Don’t let fear water it down.
Don’t be overwhelmed by what you don’t know about scripture. Let what you don’t know fan your curiosity into flame. Even Paul’s flame had to start somewhere. And if you don’t know where to start, try beginning with your questions. What do you want to know the most about God? What have you always wondered about His Son, Jesus? Now, crack open His word and go find it!
Which leads me to my fourth and final thought over you before we leave the Forge:
I want to give you a new word or phrase today, if you’ll let me. Instead of us having a quiet time today, how about we go hunting for God instead? Who wants to be a God Hunter? Who wants to know the secrets of life? They’re found in God’s book. That is what God Hunters do, you know. Who wants to know about the God whose Name wins wars? That is what God Hunters do! Who wants to step into the cell with Paul and find out why his bloodied mouth still has a song? That is what God Hunters do. Who wants Holy breath, more than air in their lungs? Who wants to risk chasing God? That, my young friend, is what God Hunters do. Will it be scary? Uh… yeah. Fearing God is the only kind of fear allowed in God’s book. Will it be safe? Heck no! But that…is…what…God Hunters do!
You know He wants to be found, right? According to scripture, we couldn’t find Him without His help. So, if this is you, then welcome to God’s fire. He’s been waiting for you. Let today mark the end of your timidity. And when fear comes, take a breath like Paul and step out anyway. It’s what God Hunters do.