Editor’s note: The following devotion is reprinted with permission from Christian Union Day & Night, a ministry based in New York City that promotes spiritual strengthening in Christians across America through corporate fasts and other initiatives.
By Qwynn Gross
In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
– Daniel 10:2-3
By grace we are living in the precious gift of time. Yet, as fleeting as it is slow, time is also the one commodity that is taken for granted by too many of us until it’s too late. The reality is, we appropriate and squander time in different ways, but within the same measure of 24 hours we each prove what we value most by what we do with our time; we prove where our allegiance is by how we allot our time; and, we prove where our true affections are by how we steward our time. Which means, as individual Christians, who love God sincerely, there is always time to draw near to God.
There is time to draw near because, we of all people know Him to be alive, and Sovereign! We call Him holy and claim to believe in His ability. We read the Scriptures and hear testimonies of how God intervenes in the affairs of man. So, we trust that His ear is not dull of hearing, nor His arm too short to deliver. We believe that He does speak peace to His own and that He reveals secret counsel.
The God we serve has proven His faithfulness and it should be enough to motivate each one of us towards a faithful pursuit of Him, in turn. Yet, somehow and in majority, we still allow the distractions and cares of life to hamper us from living on purpose and for purpose. Paul told Timothy, that God “…saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…” (2 Timothy 1:9). Thus, we exist for Him! So surely, we can find or carve out time for the One we were created for.
And so, to help us—lest we waste any more time, the book of Daniel introduces a young man who would draw near to God with consistency. From the beginning, Daniel demonstrated his values by declining the king’s table. Throughout the book, he proved his allegiance by choosing God above pagan culture. He showed the world his true affections (were God and Jerusalem) through a custom of seeking God three times per day. He found and carved out time—time to pray, but also time to humble himself before God with fasting.
That was his general disposition. And in Daniel 10, after considering the prophetic word of Jeremiah, he said, “I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled”. Again, Daniel set aside time for God because he understood the value; because he was clear about his allegiance and, though a slave, he had true affection toward God.
And as a result, there seemed to always be an ethereal response! In fact, so great was Daniel’s encounter in chapter 10, that those standing with him would flee in fear! They couldn’t hear or see anything, but the atmosphere was weighted by glory as Daniel’s eyes were opened, and he would hear an affirmation of God’s love, as well as receive a promise of more revelation.
The entire book of Daniel is an extraordinary read as Daniel’s regular and consistent pursuit of God seems to be the trigger for consistent favor and glory from God.
It is enough for the busiest among us to, not just yearn and hunger for more of God, but to take an active step towards setting time aside for Him. That is, to first determine what in our lives we have made more important than an earnest pursuit of our Father. What have we deemed more worthy than Him? And, the answer is not cerebral. The answer is found in our schedules and in our checking account statements—the answer is found in what eats the majority of the 24 hours we each have in a day.
And thankfully, there is grace to adjust our findings so that we can better prove how we value the One who saves our soul; better prove our allegiance towards our great God; and, really demonstrate true affection towards our good, good Father.
And, I dare say, there is grace to make those adjustments of our time, today.
Father, I thank You for the gift of time and I repent for the many ways I have prioritized so many things above You. Forgive me, Lord, and restore the joy of my salvation that I may want You more than anything and anyone else. I choose You, and determine today that You have the best of me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Set the best fixed time within your day to pray and read Scripture.
Determine how long you will meet with God daily.
Determine where you will meet with God.
Enjoy your fellowship with Him!
Qwynn Gross is a ministry fellow with Christian Union’s ministry at Princeton University.