Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, November 29th. Is your schedule packed so full of meetings, appointments, and social activities there's barely time to breathe? Today, we challenge believers to rearrange priorities to make time to be alone with God. I think there are several essentials to effective meditation.
That's what I want to talk about. The six essentials to effective meditation because listen, until you learn to be quiet before the Lord, you will never be satisfied in your Christian life. There'll always be something missing. And not only that, you'll never have the effectiveness in your life with other people if you do not learn to meditate upon His Word and with Him. So I just want to mention these six things primarily and they're very simple. And yet sometimes it's these simple things we overlook and sometimes need to be reminded of them.
But I think there are six things primarily that are absolutely essential if you and I are going to grow in our personal relationship to Him. Because you see, our intimate relationship with Him ultimately is the thing that determines our effectiveness for Him. And the wonderful thing about that, and I said again, it gets us all on the same level so that no big shots, no little shots, and nobody between. It's just a matter of how hungry for God are you. And the wonderful thing about that is people who have a hunger for God, God's going to use them. And I've heard people who didn't always use the best English in the world but who were so powerfully effective for God. And people about whom we might have felt that they did not have the most pleasing personality in the world but extremely effective for God. So you see, He says, we look on the outer man, God looks on the inner man. So if you want to be used effectively for Him and you want to grow in your Christian life, there are just some things that God requires.
And I think there are six essentials, and here they are, number one. That is a season of time. You've got to spend time with Him if you want to grow like Him. It is what we gaze upon most that we become like. It is what we think about most in our minds that most affects us and what we become like. So a season of time, and you'll recall this passage, we've mentioned it before. But it's not only true of Jesus but of David and others as they meditated upon the Lord. Jesus got up early in the morning, went up to the mountains to pray, to be with the Father. He spent time, and as we think about how busy your schedule and mine is, we think about what we have time for and what we don't have time for.
In essence, here's what we're saying. If we don't have time for the Lord Jesus Christ and we don't have time for joy, we don't have time for wisdom, we don't have time for prosperity, His kind of prosperity, we don't have time to grow. If we don't have time for Him, it just takes time. And you see, when somebody says to me, well, what can I really do to really grow in the Lord? I mean, just move on with God. Well, there's nothing you can do to move on if you mean grow hurriedly.
If you want to move on with God, then take time back here with Him not to do anything else but be with Him. It takes time. Second essential, not only is time, the second essential is stillness. Now, listen, you now know that passage in Psalm forty-six, be still and know that I am God. There are some times when if we are not still, we're not going to be able to sense Him. Stillness means I stop everything else. It's time with stillness. When you and I get real still, we can concentrate and think about Him.
And we need to think about Him. And this is why it's so important when you listen to a sermon, write something down. So when you get by yourself and you're thinking about God, thinking about the things that you know and sort of reiterating them to Him and reminding Him of them, just being still and being quiet. So the second thing I just simply want to say is stillness.
The third one is seclusion. And this is what Jesus really had to fight for in His ministry. Because He says He would go away in the mountains and you know what, that crowd, they'd follow Him.
And He'd go on the other side of the lake and end up, here they come. So seclusion for Him was a major challenge. Now, by seclusion I mean getting by yourself. You say, I don't like being by myself. Well, if you're going to learn to meditate before the Lord and sit before Him, being by yourself is very important. Now, being with somebody and praying with other people is wonderful. But there's something about being alone with Him when there's nobody there but just you and the Father, you and the Lord Jesus, all alone, being still, unhurried, not checking the clock, not answering the telephone, not wondering what's going on. I wonder how often you and I get quiet before the Lord and we don't let anybody disturb us.
So let me ask you a question. When's the last time you got by yourself just to listen to God? Still, just listening, unhurried, no clock, nothing.
Now, if we're real honest, is it not true that not many folks spend very much time like that? There's always something to do, but nothing so important is just being quiet before God. I just want to emphasize seclusion by being alone with Him and just listening. All right, there's one other here, and that is when we talk about silence, for example. And that is being silent before Him, not doing all the talking.
In the thirtieth Psalm, thirtieth chapter of Isaiah and the fifteenth verse, I believe, He says, in quietness and in confidence, a trust is our strength. There is an awesome sense of change that takes place in a person's life when they sit before, lie or prostrate themselves before the Lord in silence, not talking. And something happens to the physical body, not just in your spirit and your mind, but something happens to the physical body. And there are times when I can just stretch out before Him and be quiet and listen by myself. Something happens to us.
And there are times when we may be weary and physically tired and worn. It doesn't take a long time when you just lie before Him and just say, Lord, I just want You to speak to my spirit. I just want You to speak to my, just speak to my heart, Lord.
And don't say anything else. Let Him do the talking. Let me ask you this question. Is this a habit in your life? You get in the car, cut on the radio. You walk in the house, flip on the television, cut on the radio. Are you comfortable in your house with nothing going on?
No television, no radio, no sounds. So I want to ask you again, can you be comfortable in your house or your apartment with nothing going on, just quietness? And if you can't, maybe you need to ask yourself the question, why can I not be satisfied being alone with God only? I tell you, you will never grow in your spiritual life until you learn to be quiet. When my heart is tuned to God, that's not being inactive or passive. That is being divinely active.
God is the one who's doing the moving, not me. And so Jesus understood what it meant to sit before His Father in stillness, in quietness, and to listen. The next word is self-control. Self-control means that I admit that I have to deal with this with a silence, or I have to deal with sitting still, I have to deal with giving God time. Self-control. I'm not saying that what we're talking about is easy, but self-control means that I'm going to give myself to the Spirit of God to the point that He can so work in my heart that my desire to go do this, my desire to watch or listen to this, my desire to be with these people, my desire to do this, that, and the other is brought under control so that my most preeminent desire is to be quiet and to be alone with Him. Self-control.
There are not many folks who have that about many areas of their life. Self-control is an absolute, it's discipline. It is self-discipline. Discipline, not desire, controls our destiny.
Get that one down. It is discipline and not desire that controls our destiny. That is, when we discipline ourselves in certain areas, for example, when you started the school, you had to get up a certain time every morning, you had to be there, and you did it.
You have a job and you have disciplined yourself to leave home in time to take care of the traffic in order to get there by 8, 30, or 9 o'clock whenever your job starts. Well, what about time with God? You see, you don't want to displease your boss, your earthly boss. What about the heavenly boss who is our heavenly Father? Are we so disciplined to do this for the world and almost nothing for God, that is, God gets what's left over? If I'm going to grow in my spiritual life, I can't give Him what's left over.
I've got to give Him the best. And I can never tell anybody else when the best is because our personalities are different. For me, it's early in the morning. And for me, I can also do it late at night.
Either one doesn't make any difference to me. But for some people, they can't get up in the morning. I mean, if they get up in the morning, they don't even know God's alive.
I mean, that's just the way their personalities and their metabolism is. So you can't tell everybody, you should do it my way. I'm not saying that I'm saying you find out when you are the freshest and give that to God.
Give that time to Him. And it's not the same for everybody. But it does take discipline. That is, we make mistakes and you see somebody that says, boy, I've made some New Year's resolutions and here's what I'm going to do. And about eight days later, they're out of it. So what do they do? They forget it.
They say it won't work. Discipline says, I have to come back and keep working on myself until I get myself to doing what I know is right. And with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do that. You see, discipline says, I have to bring myself. I have to get myself under control by the power of the Holy Spirit and with His enabling. And God will enable us. Self-discipline is an essential in the Christian life. And it's essential to meditation. It is not easy. A thousand things will crowd Him out.
You have to decide I'm going to. And the Apostle Paul, he disciplined himself. And as I read the biographies of all the great preachers that I know of, every single one of them with no exception, with no exception, what was the bottom line in their spiritual walk? Their own private meditation with God. And you know what? Every single one of them.
I remember reading something about Spurgeon. This is about eighteen hundreds and something. You know what his biggest challenge was? All the meetings he had to go to.
So life really hadn't changed a lot. It's what we do then. Here's what I want to say. The reason some people are exceptions is because they're willing to pay the price of self-discipline. Discipline, daily discipline. And one of those disciplines is being alone in stillness and quietness, listening to a Heavenly Father speak. And that takes self-discipline. It doesn't come easy. Next word. And the last word is submission, submissive spirit. All the talking to God and listening and being quiet and being alone and reading the Word, all that's not going to work as long as you are having a rebellious spirit toward God and you don't want to deal with something. Here's what happens.
You mark this down. Either in my quiet time with Him I get submissive or what happens? You quit having the quiet time.
I guarantee you, you'll not be systematic in it with a rebellious spirit. You know why? Because it's going to get so painful. Listen, when you come before the Lord and He wants to deal with you about something you're not willing to deal with, it gets so painful after a while, what happens? You just don't show up. And what happens? You fill that time with something else. A submissive spirit says, Father, I really want you to speak to me.
And whatever you tell me to do, that's what I want to do. Now, that doesn't mean sometimes He won't bring something to mind and heart that gives you a real problem and you find yourself being challenged by it. And what happens is in these times you find yourself wrestling with Him. Sure, there are those times.
There's going to be those times. But a submissive spirit says, Lord, I really do want to grow. I want you to clean out of my life where it doesn't belong. I want you to bring into my life what you want.
And I want you to give me the wisdom to be able to discern what that is. And as I get into your Word, and this is why this is so important, being in the Word, you can be reading in Genesis, Exodus, you name it. It's amazing how God can take the simple events of Scripture written thousands of years ago and you may look and think, well, what does this have to do with my life? Or here's a passage or here's a verse or here's something that God says that suddenly strikes your heart. And I was reading a couple of passages, but one of them especially, something that I'd read many, many, many times before.
It just really grabbed my heart. And I thought, now, God, you are really saying something to me. It was a mistake that one of His servants made.
I mean, a real big mistake. And I looked at that and I thought, Lord, are you trying to say something to me? And God just brought to my mind and just reminded me that I had to be absolutely submissive, absolutely committed, no matter what. And if you'd asked me if I were, I'd have said, why, sure I am. But reading what He had said to His servant made me realize, no, I wasn't.
I thought I was, but I wasn't. You see, that's why you, if you just find something that you want to read that looks interesting, just get in the book and start reading. It's amazing.
It's amazing how God can take the events of His servants, whether it's a man or a woman, doesn't make any difference. And you'll find yourself being pictured drawn. It's right there in front of you. And what happens? God's always leading us to submission and yieldedness and surrender. That's what He's after. He's after bringing us into such oneness with Him that what?
That that oneness means intimacy, and that intimacy means effectiveness in our witness for God, effectiveness in our walk, effectiveness in our relationships. They're real simple until you try it. Then all of a sudden, it's not all that simple.
I just want to say this to you one more time. There is no way you can try everything else you want to try. There is no way to grow in your intimate relationship with Him. There is no way to be really effective for God with spiritual impact without doing what we talked about doing.
There's just no way. You know why? Because God isn't impressed with all this ability, talent, eloquence. He's not impressed with the charismatic personnel. He's not impressed with any of that stuff.
You know why? Because all He wants is our heart, and He wants a loving relationship with us. And that means I have to give Him time and quietness and stillness and seclusion, get my life under control and submit my spirit to Him and listen to Him, get in His Word and be quiet and let Him do His work. And what happens? He just anchors your life. No matter what happens, you find yourself very, very, very, very anchored.
Why? Because you're spending time with Him. You're getting His thoughts and His ideas and His perspective. And that's what David was doing, sitting before the Lord, reviewing His past, recalling how great God was, reminding God of His wonderful promises, and then making His request before the Lord.
But he spent time being quiet, still secluded by himself. So I want to challenge you to practice this seven days. Before you get into bed tonight, if you go by a calendar or schedule, you put on that schedule, on that calendar, a time each day for seven days. What, it's 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or whatever you want to do.
But put something down. Listen, if you're one of those persons you say, man, I don't know about this, then what about five minutes? But if you don't put down a time, I'm telling you it's not going to happen. I want to challenge you before you go to bed, on your calendar, you say, I don't have a calendar, I just do whatever comes next.
Then my friend, buy yourself one. And listen, if you don't put anything on the calendar but you and God, I tell you, if you don't, you won't. I challenge you before you go to bed tonight, choose a time for seven days, that's all. And see what God does in seven days in your life of committed, disciplined, dedicated time that's for Him and Him only. I'll tell you what will happen.
You won't want to stop in seven days. Father, when I think about how loving and kind and gentle You are, and that so often it's as if You put Your loving arms around us and hug us real good, and remind us that You are here and that You are our life, and that we couldn't be loved by anybody like we love by You, and that nothing so delights Your heart is for us to want to love You and to be loved by You. I just pray this evening that the simplicity of this message will sink deep into the heart of every single hero. And Father, I know that You will enable each one of us to do always what is best for us. And that's my prayer for every person here. In Christ's name, amen. Thank you for listening to part two of Essentials of Effective Meditation. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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