Have you ever felt judged by another Christian regarding your spiritual disciplines? More importantly, have you ever been guilty of judging another brother or sister for the way that they do devotions or prayer?
For many years, I have been a late riser. For many years, I have felt ashamed of this. Throughout my years as a Christian, many well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ have told me that I should be up early with the Lord. This is how they did it and they believed that this is the only way to have a fulfilling time with the Lord. Some implied that my methods of spiritual discipline were ineffective. I have to confess to you that this has been a struggle for me in a few different ways. First, it caused division between me and another Christian. Second, it caused me to question in an unhealthy way, my own relationship with the Lord and third, it caused me to believe that I must not be as spiritually mature as these other believers. I have done a devo, scripture reading and prayer sometime in the morning and I converse with my Lord throughout the day but somehow I have struggled with believing that this was a correct method.
Recently, my life became very chaotic. My quiet time alone with the Lord really suffered. I began to realize that something needed to change and it needed urgent attention. Remembering that others believe that the early morning pre-sunrise method is best, I made a decision that I would begin rising early before the rest of my family. Surely this was the answer. Blurry eyed and exhausted, I began to pray and read. My mind drifted easily. As the days of my new early morning discipline wore on, I began to see dark circles appear under my eyes. The normal green color of my eyes turned to a dull gray and I started feeling flu-ish. I stuck with it though because like they say – 21 days a habit makes. I was enjoying the quiet in the morning and I was starting to get a lot out of my reading but physically I was feeling horrible. Confession – I forgot to set my alarm last night and yes, you guessed it – I woke up at my old normal time. I looked in the mirror and I looked like myself again. I hopped down the stairs, bright eyed and bushy tailed – ready for my day. Now I ask – which woman is more useful for the Lord?
Why do I share this? Simply put, we must stop imposing our own standards onto other people. We must only judge using biblical standards. Anything else is enslaving legalism. When we wrongly judge, we can be responsible for stunting the growth in another. I was talking to a brother about my attempt at early morning devos. His response was shaking his head and saying “nooooo, I can’t do that! I do mine at night before I go to bed”. Thanks for that – it helped me to come to my conclusions. I am by no means a new believer. In fact, I have been a Christian for way more than half of my life. My story proves that damage can still be done to a mature believer so I am begging all of us to consider these things before we heap our opinions onto other people.
What do you think? Does the time of day determine the effectiveness, sincerity or the devotion of our hearts? I hope that this post offers hope and encouragement to you. I would love to hear your thoughts.