Posted in theology

Alone time? Is it biblical?

By Elizabeth Prata

Is taking some time to refresh yourself on the weekends dropping the ball on our biblical duty to care for others, first? This was a discussion with a reader. I know I sometimes feel like I’m failing my Lord if I’m not using every single minute for His name, to be busy doing something. I feel guilty on Saturdays when I use the day to do home chores, take a nap, and refresh myself alone. I am busy as per 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-11,

But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to excel even more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we instructed you, (1 Thessalonians 4:10-11).

I even named my other blog The Quiet Life because I take this verse so seriously.

I think it is wise to know your limits, and what you need. We aren’t doormats. We do pour out our lives for others but not in ways that leave us nothing to pour. Mindful busy-ness is the key.

Let’s look to the scriptures for an example- “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” (Luke 5:16)

Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, on Luke 5:16
“And he withdrew himself into the wilderness – Or rather, He frequently withdrew into the desert. This I believe to be the import of the original words, ην ὑποχωρων. He made it a frequent custom to withdraw from the multitudes for a time, and pray, teaching hereby the ministers of the Gospel that they are to receive fresh supplies of light and power from God by prayer, that they may be the more successful in their work; and that they ought to seek frequent opportunities of being in private with God and their books.” 

Jesus withdrew often, to think, recharge, pray. Once you see it in the Gospel, it’s everywhere. “Jesus withdrew”…

Alternately, it’s good not to let a short period of refreshment turn into a pattern of laziness. I find that listening to or reading Reagan Rose’s Redeeming Productivity podcast & blog helps keep the idea of productive productivity in the forefront of my mind. Overstressing ourselves or constant busy-ness for the sake of being busy is more tiring than intentional productivity punctuated with short periods of refreshing.

The Craziness of Laziness, podcast
How to Stop Being So Lazy, blog

However you take your re-charging, by walking or hiking, playing a sport, quiet alone time in nature, reading, I do think it’s important to combine those times with prayer and quiet contemplation amid the busy pouring out the Bible calls us to do.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Time of refreshing

I’d had a hard week, a long one. It had been a few days since I’d read my Bible. I was 6 days overdue for reading the pages in the book Biblical Doctrine I’m studying with an online group, and the new weekly study was going to come out the next day. If I didn’t do some reading I’d be a week behind in the study, and I was already a few days behind in Bible reading. When I read the ten pages suggested for the Doctrine study, I always also read a chapter in The Hidden Life of Prayer by David MacIntyre. I hadn’t read that either, even though it would only represent a few pages of reading and wasn’t especially hard or time-consuming.

It infuriates me when I do this. I exclaim aloud as Paul did in Romans 7:15-20, 24 why do I do the things I don’t want to do and do the things I don’t want to do? Who will deliver me from this body of death?

I didn’t desire to be behind any more. Nor did I want to neglect my God any further. I buckled down and read all my pages, the Bible, the weekly Bible Study, and my chosen book on Prayer. I took a leisurely two and a half hours to do it, though given the number of pages, the actual reading time could have been shorter. But the amazing thing is, the longer I read the Word, and the deeper I went into the Doctrine study, the more relaxed I became. I wanted to stay with it. I enjoyed it tremendously. I luxuriated in reading a bit, then lifting my eyes and praying in exultation, pondering a while, then reading some more. I was amazed when I finished, it felt like just one minute had passed.

When I finished I felt refreshed and relaxed. I felt good, through and through. Why is that?

I confessed my laziness to several of the men in my Bible Study group the next night. I mentioned the amazing feeling afterward, the energy and freshness I’d felt when I concluded my personal session. Why is that? And why do I put it off when I know that the Lord is worth the discipline, and that I’ll be receiving the gift of His presence through the scriptures, not to mention the bonus of the fresh and energized feeling?

They both said,

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; (Psalm 19:7).

The answer is simple- the scriptures refresh like no other activity, item, discipline, food or drink on earth. They refresh totally because they are not from earth.

His word revives the very soul.

bible reading 1