“When you have peace and quiet and you’re not concerned with people trying to get your attention, you’re dramatically more effective and can get important work done.” This is how psychologist Josh Davis describes the advantages of starting your day at 4 a.m. He notes that people booby-trap their offices with distractions: desk clutter, email pop-ups, cellphone, Facebook, other social media. However, “by waking up at 4 a.m., they’ve essentially wiped a lot of those distractions off their plate.”
You may not decide to get up at 4 a.m. tomorrow, but you can still choose to live a less cluttered life. Here’s how.
God’s word teaches us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). One way to do this is to cultivate a soul that listens to God. David testified, “For God alone my soul waits in silence” (Psalm 62:1). As a result, he could say, “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God, and to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love” (vs. 11–12).
“God said” appears forty-six times in the Bible. We find this statement first in the third verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:3). The next-to-last verse of Scripture also quotes a direct statement of God (Revelation 22:20). Since neither human nor divine nature have changed, does it seem reasonable that the God who spoke so often in the biblical era would be silent today?
Francis Schaeffer noted that “he is there and he is not silent.” Our culture desperately needs Christians to hear from Christ and speak his word to our world.
According to The Atlantic, a major reason more people don’t go to church is that they don’t trust religious institutions. If they knew they would receive a genuine word from God, it seems they would be more interested in attending.
Time magazine reports that “married people who start watching porn are twice as likely to be divorced in the following years as those who don’t.” This is especially troubling in light of the fact that 68 percent of Christian men and 50 percent of pastors reportedly view pornography regularly. Clearly, followers of Jesus need his mind in confronting our decadent culture. The more we listen to our Lord, the less we will be persuaded by our enemy.
I have a proposal: ask Jesus to speak to you through the circumstances of this day. Then pause all through your day and wait for him to answer your prayer.
As an experiment, I did this yesterday before taking my morning walk in our neighborhood. I passed crepe myrtles planted between a sidewalk and a backyard fence and heard the Spirit encourage me to “bloom where you’re planted.” I passed a manhole cover and was led to reflect on unseen realities beneath our visible world. I walked past the tallest tree in our neighborhood and thought of my soul: the closer I get to heaven, the better I can hear from Jesus and the further my voice will carry in sharing his word with the world.
Our Father will speak to us in simple ways like these but also in the profound challenges of our lives. In fact, he wants to speak more than most of us want to listen. To unclutter your life, quiet your soul.