As JBU students, we are inundated with the gospel, which is a huge blessing. Chapel is held three times a week. Professors pray in classes. Core Bible classes are required for every major. Not to mention the Bible studies, spontaneous prayer/worship sessions, and general Jesus talk that takes place all over campus every day. Our minds are never far from the Word of God, but where are our hearts?
My first semester at JBU, despite being constantly surrounded by God’s truth, I found it difficult to draw near to God. When you’re talking and thinking about God so much as part of your daily life, it’s easy to lose your appetite for time alone with God. I started to think to myself, “Do I really need to read my Bible and pray if I went to chapel today and talked about my faith in all my classes?”
There is grace and danger in grazing on the gospel. Here are some practical tips I’ve found useful in my time here at JBU for hungering for time with God:
1. Take time to get away from everyone
Go on a long walk through town alone. Take the Dogwood Trail and go sit by the creek. Hang out in your dorm basement or in a prayer closet. Take your Bible and pray and search your heart. I’ve found that getting away from the hustle and bustle of campus helps me listen to the Spirit’s whisperings. It’s when I’m completely alone that I find myself free to truly appreciate God.
2. Consider time alone with God as an absolute necessity
There is a noticeable difference in myself on the days I take time to spend with God and the days I don’t. It’s harder to resist temptation. It’s harder to desire God. It’s easier to love the world and find my value in it. If we want to align our steps with Jesus, we must first align our hearts with his. Let this be the prayer of your heart every morning upon waking: “I need you, I need you, I need you, God.”
3. Establish a time and routine
For me, this looked like getting up at 6 a.m. and setting aside forty-five minutes to an hour to retreat to the Mayfield basement. Make a game plan of where you’ll go, when you’ll go and what you’ll do when spending time with God. Maybe choose a book of the Bible and study a chapter a day before spending time in prayer.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking our Christian atmosphere is enough to sustain our faith. If you find yourself in a dismal season of boredom with God, pray hard and trust that the next season is coming. May we never grow tired of hearing the gospel!