Monday, March 16, 2009

The Value of Quiet

We live in a world of noise. From the traffic outside to the television inside there is a constant dull roar of noise. Not do we only have the actual noise of life, but we also have to deal with the “noise” of all the activities that vie for our attention. We have the “noise” of our responsibilities, the “noise” of our hobbies, the “noise” of our relationships, and the “noise” of entertainment. With all the noise in the world, it is hard to hear God’s voice. Whether that voice is Bible or the quiet leading of the Holy Spirit, the noise of our lives often drowns out the voice of God.

It is interesting that God often called people into the wilderness, into the quiet, in order to communicate with them. God called Abraham to leave the metropolis of ancient Babylon to become a wilderness wanderer. God brings Israel out of the urban centers of Egypt to the wilderness of Sinai in order to communicate to them His Law. David discovers God and develops a heart for God while watching the sheep in the wilderness. The apostle Paul, after his conversion, is called into the desert, where he hears from Christ Jesus. For the disciple of Jesus Christ, quiet is an essential part of our lives, but it is a part of our lives that we will have to fight for in order to experience.

That is the reason I decided to take 40 days away from the internet. The internet opens up a whole new world of the “noise” in our lives. We have e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, fantasy football, and blogs to distract us from hearing God’s voice. I decided that I needed time away from it all, to prepare my heart for what God has been calling me to do, and to seek His direction. It was an intentional decision on my part to reduce the volume of “noise” in my life.

The time away proved to be very valuable, as I was able to connect with God in a way that I haven’t in a very long time. I would like to share with you two ways I was able to connect with God during the bast forty days.

The first way is added depth to my prayers. To be honest I have never have had a great prayer life. Outside a three month period in 2003 when I wrote out my prayers, my prayers have been superficial at best. During the last few weeks I have really felt that God has been teaching me how to pray, and the importance of prayer in our lives. It is like a light came on and prayer became a real way to communicate with God, and not just me talking to myself in my mind. Prayer is such an vital part in hearing from God, and it often takes an intentional disconnection from the “noise” of life to discover just how important prayer is to life.

The second way is added depth to my study. Here is another confession. I have been able to glide by so far in ministry by doing very little study. Yes, I have read a lot and I think a lot, and that is why I have been able to get by with very little study, but I wasn’t doing justice to the gift of teaching and preaching God has given me. Since I left my MacBook at my parents, I was forced to do things a little different when it came to sermon preparation. Getting back to books, paper, and pen I spent more time studying for my sermons and actually getting into the text (this makes me regret not retaining more of my two years of Greek). It has been great, and now I have a folder of notes that I have made as I have preached through Ephesians, and Ephesians has come alive in a way that I have never experienced before. This would never have happened if I would have just allowed things to continue as they had been. Sometimes change requires radical surgery, and if we are not willing to do it then we will never experience change.

The world is noisy. If we are going to follow Jesus we need to be intentional about find moments of quiet. It is in the quiet that we are in the best position to hear the voice of God.


Z-man said...

That "constant dull roar of noise", I wonder does that explain my tinnitus?

Paul said...

It might, but if you are anything like me then that tinnitus just blends right in with the rest of the noise.

Ruth said...

Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Paul. I found your blog just after you announced your internet hiatus, but I've enjoyed reading your previous posts and these recent ones. I definitely understand how overwhelming noise can be in our world and how hard it is to find quiet sometimes. Recently, though, I've made quite a few changes in my life to rearrange my priorities and try to give God more attention and space. Anyway, thanks again for sharing.

Paul said...

Welcome Ruth. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Anonymous said...

God bless and enrich u, Paul. I have finally found an answer to my quests.

Now,i can boldly do my presentation in the office.

Thanks a million.

eyitayo said...

God bless u one more time, Paul.

Previously Anonymous

eyitayo said...

God bless u one more time, Paul.

Previously Anonymous

Paul said...

eyitayo, I am glad you found what you were looking for.

Daniel said...

I am encouraged to read that. I am going to find a way for me to find more quiet this week - by eliminating something that causes it. Thanks for the post.

Paul said...

Hey Daniel,
Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope that you are able to carve out some quiet time this week.

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