By Brian Sharpe
I was sitting in a coffee shop talking with a mentor of mine about how I was doing with taking personal retreat days. A personal retreat day is a day of planning for the month ahead and spending some focused time with God. This is a once-a-month, planned day. He and I talked about how I had not had a personal retreat day in a while.
My mentor looked at me and said, “Well, I don’t think you believe in them.”
I got really defensive. I tried to explain how I believed in them and had used them in the past.
Then he looked at me again and said, “You don’t believe in them because, if you did, then you would make time for them.”
This exchange happened several years ago, and it was brought to my memory this past weekend. I was at a Pacific Northwest Leadership conference for the EFCA, and at this conference a speaker talked about how belief and value are tied to actions. I know this doesn’t sound spiritual, but it does have spiritual implications. He said that when we believe something and value it, it will be part of our actions. I see this applying in just about every area of our lives. If we believe we need to diet but don’t value it, most likely we will try and diet but it will not last.
This made me think of my time with God. I love spending time with God. There are times when I read my Bible and it seems I have drunk a refreshing drink. There are time I walk away saying, “I’m not sure I learned anything new, but I spent some time with God.” There are times in prayer I sense a connection with God and times when I don’t sense anything. How do belief, value, and action come into play here? Most of us would say we want to spend time with God every day. We believe prayer is important. We believe sharing our faith is important, but is this something we value? We may believe it, but until we value it, will it be part of our life? Why do I not run to prayer at times of need and in times of plenty? Why don’t I spend time with God? I am convicted by this, and challenged with it, but again, both of those feelings may not lead to lasting action.
What do my actions communicate that I value? This is probably a question I don’t want to ask because I may not like the answer. These are questions I am pondering now, and will be for a while as I consider how to seek God first and give Him the place of prominence in my life.