We live in busy times: work, family, social engagements, sports, relaxation, children's parties, family gatherings, et cetera. There are always a thousand things to do with only 24 hours per day and seven days per week to do it in. In the midst of such a schedule, the church tells us that our best time belongs to God; we should pray and listen to what God says to us in the Scriptures. How unreasonable can that be? Yet time is crucial in our relationship with God. God's whole plan for man is about a love relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. For love to thrive, communication is essential. Without enough quality time together a relationship quickly turns sour. No marriage will last without it. Neither will the relationship with Jesus last if it is not built on communication and love.
Did God know how rushed modern life would be? Yes, He is omniscient. Did He know how impossible it would be to fit time for Him into our busy schedules? Did He know that we cannot do what He asks of us? Yes! That is why He provided a 'mechanism' (the Holy Spirit) so no one will be able to complain. Every person's life is different and people live in various cultures and parts of the world. So rules about how to have a relationship with God would have been impractical. Yet, we all have access to the Holy Spirit. We can ask, and it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7). Can we ask the Holy Spirit to give us time, energy, love and enthusiasm for prayer and Bible study? Definitely! He is on earth to guide, help, encourage, comfort and counsel the children of God. What does that mean?
- Simply that nobody will have a valid excuse when he/she appears before God. Someone might be the most important CEO of the biggest firm in the world and the Holy Spirit can help him find time for devotions with God. One can of course refuse to listen when the Holy Spirit gives His advice and directions, but then the problem is no longer on God's side. God has given us the Helper we need, and if we reject Him, it is to our own detriment.
- Some people still abuse salvation. They think being saved is the same as being absolved from all responsibility. They forget that on this side of the grave, God's mercy and grace is an ever present available reality, but on the other side of the grave, God has to stick to rules. The reason is obvious: He condemned the devil and his demons to eternal hell. They are desperately searching the Scriptures to try and find a loop hole where they can prove that God made a mistake. Then they can appeal against their sentence. So far they have found no errors in Scripture. Their next avenue is to find an error in God's judicial system. If God should acquit a person who was supposed to be saved, but lived like an atheist, he should also acquit atheists. God's judicial system is based on written accounts and there will be no favoritism. No 'Christian' will be able to call upon God's mercy after he has died. God will not acquit him then. The time of mercy, grace and forgiveness is on this side of the grave. God gave us ample help to live the righteous life that He requires (James 1:20). If we do not use the help the Holy Spirit is prepared to give us, we will suffer loss.
- Another aspect that many believers forget is the principle of 'fixation.' As we are here, we will be there. One has an example in the lives of the angels. They had a free will, but once they exercised it, they became 'fixated.' The evil angels who chose to rebel against God became the workers of the devil, and those who remained faithful to God became 'holy' angels.
If we imagine that holiness is optional, we are in for a rude shock. If one needed only to be saved, the Bible would have had a few pages about salvation. As it is, from the very beginning, it had to do with holy living. (For an eternal family, it is essential.) Noah was recommended for his exemplary lifestyle, Abraham 'obeyed Me (God) and kept My requirements, My commands, My decrees and My laws' (Genesis 26:5). That can only be achieved by spending time with God under the direction of the Holy Spirit.