New York Bible Institute’s Dean of Women, Karen Smith, shares with us on how to have an effective Quiet Time that’s meaningful even on the days you don’t feel up to it. Also, Karen dives into what accountability looks like through both being held accountable and keeping someone else accountable.
from the Word of Life Podcast with Jonathan Phillips
Q: While we do use Word of Life’s Quiet Time devotional here for our daily devotions, what do you advise for those who want to do more?
A: Quiet time is just about getting into the Word and coming away with something to meditate on throughout the day. Just as Jesus spent time talking to His father, we need to hear from the Lord and get instruction for the day.
In your daily quiet time/devotions, talk to God through prayer, read the chapter around the selected daily passage for context, and ask, “Who are you Lord,” and “What do You want me to do?” The whole point of getting into the Word is learning more about Him. Look for names, characteristics, and learn from his interactions and instructions. “My understanding of God is going to help me interpret everything else in life correctly.” The question, “What do you want me to do?” is an easier interpretation of the question, “How do I apply this to my life?” We do not naturally think biblically, so we need to be in the Word.
Q: Do you think we fully grasp that the Word of God is the Knowledge of God, or do you think we are all pulled away by distractions from the world?
A: We are all often distracted and preoccupied. Think of your quiet time as similar circumstances to the woman at the well. She did not know she had a divine appointment, but Jesus was waiting for her to show up. He is waiting to meet with you too.
Do your quiet time whether you feel like it or not. “Our feelings will follow where the truth is.” Quiet time and prayer can be hard because we have to admit that we need help. We need to choose what is most important. Just as you would pursue a friendship in real life, spend time with God.
Q: How do you advise people when beginning a quiet time?
A: Quiet time needs to be founded in the Word of God. Start with a passage in the Bible and read it multiple times. Go to God’s Word first, not just reading the devotional. Proverbs is a great place to start because it is common sense wisdom, or you could pick a gospel a month. There are many ways to start a quiet time. You also do not need any tools apart from the Holy Spirit. He is the greatest teacher we could ever have. Ask God to show you what He has for you and read until you find something to think on for the day.
Q: How important is it for you to find someone to share your quiet time with every day?
A: “Faith builds faith.” Sharing what we have learned can hold us accountable and simultaneously grow others’ wisdom and understanding.
Q: Do you find that many in discipleship are unwilling to open up or are they generally open to growth?
A: Both. Some are ready, and some do not know what discipleship is, because they have never experienced it before. It is not easy, but those who want to grow understand that discipleship will only help as much as they are willing to be honest.
Q: If a teen or young adult is doing their quiet time and being discipled, should they then start pouring into someone else spiritually, or should they stay under the umbrella of someone else?
A: We should all continually be under the umbrella of someone else. Young believers should ask their discipler if they think they are ready for discipling someone themselves. You do not want to accidentally lead someone astray. Make sure you are growing and seeking the Lord, making right and good choices and in a place where you can pass that on. If you are going through something difficult, wait to pour into someone else until you can see God redeeming the story.
Q: How would you advise those who are trying to get closer to the Lord but are not getting anywhere?
A: Dig into God’s Word, getting to know Him and His Gospel. He was willing to sacrifice His life, whether you accepted it or not (Eph 2). If you want to change, fill your mind with God’s Word and talk to others about it. Memorize scripture so you can meditate on God’s Word, which will crowd out the things we should not be dwelling on. As you work in cooperation with the Lord and discipleship, it will get harder before it gets easier.
Q: As we pray more and draw closer to God, will He answer us?
A: Yes, as we pray through the Word of God seeking Him (Jer. 29), He will convict and instruct us.
Q: What do you say to those who worry something is wrong when they do not feel close to God?
A: Pursue your relationship with God. If you feel distant, keep bringing that to God in prayer. According to His Word, He will reveal Himself to us (Jer. 29).
Q: How often do you find young people struggle with the surety of their salvation?
A: It is a common occurrence, even among pastoral families. We talk through it, discussing whether they are seeking proof or making the choice to have faith, trusting what the Bible says. We are called to have faith like children. We will never know everything, but we can choose to believe what God’s Word says.
As you approach God’s Word, pray that He would show you truth, according to His will. Take your time and make it a part of your day. Trust God to show up and be excited about what He will show you.