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In the previous blog post I outlined the effect of time on a relationship. The equation is simple. 

Dedicated time devoted to a relationship will lead to an increased familiarity and fondness.

The inverse is equally true. 

Throughout church history there has been a high level of awareness of this truth. No matter how much we might like to push back against it (and we do like to push back against it, usually out of pride) it is as plain as the nose on my face. Time devoted to God is always going to be a good thing, and even in periods of divine silence, will still lead to a deeper discipleship. This truth can be plotted on the course of church history, the lives of saints and the more personal timeline of my own faith-life. 

Now here is where we often go wrong. 

To illustrate, recall for a moment a recent conversation (in person or on text) with a friend where you organised to see each other. There were probably two things that were coordinated. Firstly, when…and some time was ring-fenced. Secondly…what. As well as the dedicated time, an activity was organised. Something to do. A drink, or puddings, watch a match or try axe-throwing etc. There is nothing wrong with this, it is the most natural second question. Now that we are together, what shall we do?

The same thing though has happened with the time ring-fenced for Jesus. An over-emphasis has been placed on what activity needs to fill this space. Various answers have been thrown into the mix. Depending on your age and type of church background, this might have been a morning ‘quiet time’, or the daily office of prayer, or receiving communion, bible study, service of the poor etc etc. 

Importantly, none of these things are bad. But neither are any of them the goal. 

The goal is relationship, not activity. 

As we consider how we grow as disciples of Jesus, we know that the people who have gone ahead of us and done it well have all developed a strong core, a solid foundation to their discipleship which is typified by relationship with Christ. They have formed habits and rhythms of friendship, which have enabled them to build the kind of faith which is not destroyed on the trial-filled-days. 

In the next post we will consider some of the things they did and the ways they filled the time, but that post comes with a serious health warning. The activity is not a one-size-fits-all solution, nor is it the most important point. The most important point is to dedicate time to your relationship with Jesus…and you could start that right now, right where you are.