There’s an unwritten rule in Christianity – well actually it’s been written over and over again – that you read your Bible and pray every day. That’s what good Christians do. And the days you miss, well, you’re not a very good Christian those days.
While I wouldn’t discourage believers to be in the Word daily or to pray daily. This is not the mark of a ‘good Christian’. If Christianity truly is “a relationship, not a religion”. We need to approach our Christianity as just that – a relationship.
So let’s talk about the making of a good relationship. Number one core value of relationships… Connection. The goal in a relationship with someone you love is to maintain connection.
Last summer, I was taking a walk with one of my daughters. We were chatting about life and about Jesus. She shared that she wasn’t spending a lot of time in the Word but was feeling very connected to God through her walks. She was loving just being with Him, meditating on Him and enjoying His creation. But she was feeling condemned because she wasn’t spending time every day in the Word. I told her, as I would tell you, whatever you are doing to stay connected with the Lord is enough.
My husband and I have been married over 18 years. Over the months, the years, and even the weeks or the seasons, we have done different things to maintain connection. When he is home, we often go to the coffee shop daily, to chat or even work on things separately but just sitting together is enough. When he is gone for days or even weeks at a time, that way of connecting is not possible. For me, I need to talk on the phone daily and give him a run down of our day – down to the details that he probably doesn’t care much about. Because I need to feel like he is still part of our lives, even though he is hundreds of miles away.
I think it’s similar in our relationship with the Lord. There will be seasons when we are diving into the Word, reading many chapters daily as He speaks to us through revelation of the written Word. Then there will be seasons where we primarily connect through times of worship. Some days, He will reveal Himself and speak to us through creation or even a hobby that we enjoy. Prayer can look like a focused hour, praying through a list. But prayer is talking to God, and can be done constantly, throughout the day. (In my marriage, I don’t dedicate an hour to conversation with my husband and then not talk to him the rest of the day. Some days, we do designate a date night and have focused conversation but I always chat with him randomly through out the day.)
When my first three girls were elementary age and younger, honestly I didn’t spend much time in the Word. I was busy and exhausted. But the reality of Him being near me all through the day, when I was changing diapers, chasing toddlers, cooking supper, kept me connected to HIm. And our relationship deepened. Then there have been seasons when I’ve read a dozen chapters in my Bible a day, Holy Spirit making the Truth alive in my soul.
While we don’t want to go too long without reading the Word, reading three chapters daily is not the mark of a ‘good Christian’. For me, I like to read at least one verse, even in the seasons where I am primarily connecting to God through other venues. Sometimes God can speak more through that one verse than if I read 5 chapters. I rarely go a day without praying but it rarely looks like a concentrated time set aside. I pray in the shower, I ask God to speak to me while driving, I pray when I get a text from a friend needing a miracle.
When too many days go by without feeling like I’ve made any sort of connection with the Lord is when my heart starts longing for Him. I don’t listen to condemnation from the enemy in this area any more but because my relationship with Jesus is real, I start missing Him. I don’t believe there’s such thing as a ‘good’ Christian or a ‘bad’ one but I do believe the mark of a real relationship with Jesus is one that is maintained through connection. And connection happens in many different ways.