I was thinking this morning about my morning time with God. I've been doing it for 28 years. Sometimes I refer to it as my "devotions," but the truth is, I struggle to devote myself to it.
I do it. But I struggle to do it.
There are so many distractions. So many things I have to do. So many things that want me to pay attention to them. Some of them are worthwhile, like adding to my to do list, or responding to a text, or writing a blog or sermon. But some are worthless. (How can pulling up my phone to study a word from the biblical text turn into 15 minutes of watching videos?!)
I grab my coffee, I pull out my Bible, open it up on my lap, and read my phone. What's with that?
I don't believe faithfulness is measured by having a morning devotion. But I do believe spending time with God every morning increases faithfulness. In fact, I would say that my best experiences with God have been connected to this habit of getting alone with him, and devoting my attention to him.
When we spend time looking into the heart and mind of God through a prayerful reading of scripture, where we examine ourselves by it, it changes how we see God, how we see ourselves, and how we see the day itself. We become more grateful, more penitent, more sensitive, more caring, more loving, more patient, all those things. We fill up with love joy and peace!
But then we fill up our minds with the news, videos, memes, grams, snaps, tweets, and TikToks. Sigh.
This morning my reading had me in Revelation 1, where John said, "On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit," and then he describes a vision in which he hears from Jesus. It reminded me of Acts 10 where Peter was in a time of prayer and "fell into a trance" and saw a vision of Jesus. And that reminded me of Acts 22 where Paul described one time that he "fell into a trance" and saw a vision of Jesus.
I think I've always related to those things as a mystical grace that just sorta happened onto them. Maybe it was. And I don't think we're supposed to chase "trances" and "visions." But I do believe we're supposed to chase being in the Spirit.
To be "in the Spirit" is a choice that we make. It's something God invites us to, but he doesn't force us into it, or it into us. And sure, being "in the Spirit" can generally describe the life of someone who is surrendered to the Lord. We can talk about living a "Spirit-filled" life. But apparently, according to scripture, it can also describe a moment in that person's life that is uniquely "in the Spirit."
Peter, Paul, and John apparently set aside time to be "in the Spirit." I wonder if you do? Or if you will?
Today I am challenging you to do that, and I mean it in a very practical and yet spiritual way. Take time to be "in the Spirit."
When Wendy and I were dating as long-distance high school sweethearts, we got to know each other by letters, and then by phone calls. And in the phone call stage we would just sit on the phone together, sometimes not even talking to each other, just being together. And, if I can say it this way, we were simply being "into each other."
Will you take time to do that with God each day?
Take time to be "in the Spirit" today.
I did, and it is good.
Pastor of Sarasota Community Church since 2009.