How to Spend Time with God (Even When You Don’t Want to)


Spending time with God is one of the most important aspects of the Christian life. In fact, everything that causes us to have a fruitful walk with God requires us to spend time with Him.

Even though many Christians understand this they still struggle with the desire to spend time with Jesus. In this article, I am going to break down, from the word of God, why this happens and how to fix it. Let’s get started.

Why is it hard/why don’t I want to spend time with God?

You may experience time with God as difficult for multiple reasons: (1) you may not be truly born again, (2) you spend more time in the flesh than you do in the Spirit, (3) you may not truly believe that God loves and forgives you, and (4) you don’t know how to spend time with God.

Any one of these explanations could be the reason that you struggle/find it hard to spend time with God, and since I don’t know your situation personally I have to address each individual reason.

Reason #1: You may not be truly Born Again

I don’t mean to offend when I say you may not be born again, but it could be the case. Sometimes we think because we go to church and prayed a prayer to go to heaven that we are all of a sudden saved, but this simply isn’t true.

Just because you have knowledge about God and the Bible doesn’t mean that you repented of your sin and decided to enter into a relationship with God.

Here is a simple way to discover if you are truly born again.

The Bible tells us that the entire reason Jesus came to the earth was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). What was lost when man sinned, was the image of God in man and the relationship between God and man.

Now when Jesus died on the cross, the Bible says that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

In other words, God brought everyone who repents and believes in Jesus into a relationship with Himself. And through that relationship, we receive eternal life (John 17:3).

Now ask yourself these questions sincerely, “do I have a relationship with God? Or do I just go through the motions of religion?”

If your answer is “no” to the first and “yes” to the second, then you are in danger of not being saved and you need to repent and begin to follow Jesus. And until you do that, you cannot have a relationship with God because only through Jesus can we come to the Father (John 14:6).

However, if your answer is yes to the first question and no/sometimes to the second question (for we all stumble on occasion) then the other reasons that we are about to cover are why you struggle.

Reason #2: You spend more time in the flesh than you do in the Spirit

This is probably the most common reason for Christians who are struggling to spend time with God.

To walk in the Spirit is to walk and live our lives in a relationship with God. This happens through obedience to His Word and fellowship with His Person. (Related article: How to Walk in the Spirit).

The apostle Paul actually put it in much simpler terms. He said, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit(Romans 8:5).

If you lack desire for God then you are simply not setting your mind on the things of God. Instead, you are thinking about the things of this world.

Maybe it is something that isn’t necessarily a sin such as your responsibilities as an adult. Or it very well could be the things of sin such as lustfulness or greed, etc.

Whatever it may be that you are thinking about in your day to day, you’re not thinking about God and its causing you to struggle with desiring to be with God.

So, how do you fix this?

You begin by repenting and deciding that although you have responsibilities to take care of on a day to day, you still have the ability to control what you think about by controlling what you consume.

That means setting your eyes and ears on things that are holy and good, and not on the things of this world. Things that draw you nearer to God, not further away. This is what it means to walk in the Spirit. This is what it means to renew your mind.

Of course, this means staying in the Word of God and in prayer, but more than that, it means not indulging yourself in things that don’t edify your walk with God as you go throughout your day.

This is why the apostle Paul tells the Philippians to meditate on things that are pure and true.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthymeditate on these things.(Phillipians 4:8)

These words describe the character of God and the attributes of His Word. So when Paul says that we should meditate on things that are pure and true, he is essentially saying that our thought life should be enlined with the Bible.

This is what means to walk in the Spirit.

So, if you are struggling with the desire to get alone with God and spend time with Him, the main reason is probably because you have filled you heart with things that have nothing to do with Him.

The good news?

Its an easy fix. Simply repent and decide to keep your mind on Jesus through filtering out anything that doesn’t align with God’s character and Word.

Reason #3: You may not truly believe that God loves and forgives you

Another reason, that may not be as common but it still happens to many people, is not fully believing that God views you as righteous and blameless in His sight.

Its no doubt that we all make mistakes; we all say things, think things, or do things that we shouldn’t. And when this happens we should repent immediately so that we never walk away from God.

However, when it comes to appearing before God we shouldn’t allow these mistakes to hinder us from developing a relationship with Him. The reason is God already sent His Son to die for us. Christ already paid the price for our failure, and in return He gave us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21) so that we can have peace with God (Romans 5:1) and begin to walk with Him.

A lot of the time, when we make a mistake, we for some reason get in a cycle of “doing better.” We tell ourselves that when we do a lot of righteous acts then we won’t feel condemned when we go to meet with God. So when we have a “good” day we feel confident before God and when we have a “bad” day we feel condemned.

The problem with this cycle is it has nothing to do with the work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross.

Here is a truth that has tremendously helped me: if you can make up for your failure then Jesus would of never had to die.

So lets stop attempting to try to make up for our shortcomings, and instead trust in the death and resurrection of Christ to make us righteous before God.

Because the truth of the matter is if we “present our members as slaves of righteousness we will bear fruit unto holiness” without us trying to be holy (Romans 6:19, 22).

So, in short, when we make a mistake lets repent as soon as we are aware of it as 1 John 1:9 says, and then once we repent, lets put faith in the work of Christ to make us at peace with the Father, and then lets continue in our walk with God as if our mistake never happened, because in God’s eyes it never did.

Reason #4: You don’t know how to spend time with God

The last reason is you simply don’t know how to spend time with God. You may get alone with God and then all of a sudden you don’t know what to say to Him or where to start reading in your Bible. [Related article: How to start reading the Bible (Beginners Guide)].

In the beginning, this is completely normal. It is no different than any other relationship that you have had in your lifetime.

A good example of this is when you first meet your neighbor or coworker, you initially don’t know what to say to them besides the normal formalities. But after a while, the more and more you run into each other and find more things in common, it suddenly becomes effortless to talk to that person.

It is no different with God. At first, its a little difficult. You don’t know what to pray, where to read, or how to express your heart to Him. Its all really new. [Related article: Spending Time with God (Common Questions Answered)].

So, a simple way to get started is by following Jesus’ model for prayer when His disciples asked Him how to pray.

The prayer is four simple steps: (1) begin with worship, (2) pray for others/intercede, (3) pray for yourself, (4) end with worship. The passage of scripture that I am referring to is Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4.

“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (Worship)

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Intercede)

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. (Pray for yourself)

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Worship)

Now, remember this is not a prayer that Jesus told us to repeat over and over again. Rather, this prayer was simply a model about how to pray, similar to a template. We know this because Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray” (Matthew 6:9).

This prayer was a manner of praying not a word for word prayer. (Related article: Prayer Life of Jesus & How to Pray Like Him).

I say this because if you decide to follow some religions, you’ll end up reciting this prayer word for word. You’ll never have intimacy nor develop a relationship like that.

Imagine if I just said to my wife the same 60 some words to her every day and nothing else, we probably wouldn’t be very close. But if we express our hearts to one another on a consistent basis, then that’ll birth true intimacy.

In short, use Jesus’ model for prayer to begin your time with God. The more and more you come before Him, the closer and more real God will become to you and your desire to be with Him will rarely waver.

How do you spend time with God when you don’t want to?

To spend time with God when you don’t want to is done in four easy steps; (1) recognize that not wanting to spend time with God is a sure sign you need to be with God, (2) repent for allowing sin to sap your desire for God, (3) ask God for help to give you a pure desire, and (4) run into God’s presence.

Lets be honest, if you are struggling with the desire to want to spend time with God then spending time with God is exactly what you need to do. In fact, your lack of desire only reveals that you haven’t been truly with Him in a good amount of time.

So to fix this, the first step is to recognize this.

And the second step is to not only recognize it, but to also understand that it is a sin and that you need to repent.

I know that may surprise some of you reading this, but its true.

Think about it for a moment: the God of the universe came in human flesh, carried our weight of sin, died on the cross, and then raised from the dead, all to remove our sin and bring us back into a relationship with the Father!

And our response is, “God I love you but I just don’t feel like reading my Bible/praying right now.”

What?! No. A thousand times no!

If that’s you, repent and come back to Jesus. Turn your heart to Him and run straight into the Father’s arms. You are made to walk in Him and be close to Him, and as a result; bear His image to a lost and dying world. You carry so much value and destiny, don’t waste it on a momentary feeling your flesh is feeding you.

Once we come to repentance, the next step is to inquire God to assist us.

God sees our weaknesses and understands them. He knows that we are learning and growing. This is why He has given us His Spirit and His word; to sanctify us.

So, when we find ourselves in a place of desiring other things than Him, we should ask Him to give us a pure desire so that we can seek Him as He deserves.

And finally, after all of this has been completed, we should run right into His presence and spend time with Him.

I say “run” because it communicates intense action.

Because the truth is the more you think about it/analyze your feeling the less desire you will have to be with God. But if you just begin to fellowship with Him right where you are, you skip past the feelings of the flesh and jump right into the Spirit.

I believe this is what Paul was referring to when he said to Timothy, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).

The gift of God that Paul is referring to is the Holy Spirit for He is given through laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-17, Acts 19:6), and receiving the Holy Spirit is also referred to as “the gift” (Acts 2:38).

So when Paul says “stir up the gift of God,” he is really saying that we should begin to draw near to God so that he will draw near to us (James 4:8). The Holy Spirit is always inside of us but we are not always aware of Him, but by string up and drawing near through prayer and worship, we become aware of Him.

I hope this article assisted you in your walk with the Lord. If you enjoyed this article, please consider giving a donation of any amount by going to the support page. The support I receive from you enables The Biblical Foundation to reach more people with the teachings of the Word of God.

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