Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for March 28-29 are provided by Christy Chang of Grace Covenant Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Heb. 12:2 (NIV): Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
When I was in college, I perpetually mismanaged my time on the weekends. I would hang out late into the night with my friends, sleep in, say yes to any social invitation that seemed fun, and lived most Saturdays in denial that there were deadlines to meet on Monday. Then Sunday morning would roll around, and school work all of a sudden became my top mental priority – so much so that I would squeeze loads of information onto index cards and sneakily go over them during the Sunday sermon, my Bible conveniently shielding them from view. If the service went a bit long, I would grow antsy and rudely pull out my planner to make to-do lists and schedule things for the upcoming week. If I had been the owner of a smartphone, I would have most definitely expanded my multi-tasking behavior by checking email or scrolling down a social media feed.
While my church etiquette has improved since my college days, a closer examination of my life reveals that the heart issue behind that behavior persists: I struggle with entering deep, sustained moments with God or even entertaining it as a passing thought many days. My mind often wanders to worries and future plans; it grows restless until I’m measurably productive, whether it’s “spiritual” productivity (filling more pages in my journal or working towards finishing a Christian book) or general productivity (running a few miles while praying or writing lessons while listening to a sermon). These combinations aren’t necessarily wrong, but it can be harmful to my heart when they replace a time with God that is silent and still.
A well-ordered heart takes time to develop; it requires discipline that is built gradually and with persistence. It forces us to finally admit what we try to ignore amidst busy schedules and earthly plans: that underneath all this striving, there’s an empty feeling inside of us. All our ambitions will fall short of giving life meaning. I’m slowly learning that unless I allow God to expose the parts of my heart decaying beneath the appearance of health and order, I won’t ever experience what it feels like to have a well-ordered heart. A heart that is so fixed on Christ that it can endure whatever hardship or overcome the strongest temptation because it is sustained by a deep friendship with Jesus. For those with well-ordered hearts, life’s purpose is no longer to become financially successful or complete some noble humanitarian deed or live a life that would garner hundreds of likes on Instagram. Pastor John Ortberg describes a well-ordered heart as one that is organized around what Jesus would think, say, and do in our place. And that begins during our alone time with God, when we become available for His voice to penetrate our hearts. God can’t speak to us when we’re too busy multi-tasking. Lord, let our hearts desire just one thing.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 32