rebelling against low expectations

Seek First The Lord


Alex and I are having an amazing (busy) time here at Patrick Henry College. Our professors are incredible. The homework is challenging, but also fascinating. Discussion amongst the students is thought-provoking. My brain is happy.

Besides just the academics, the spiritual focus here invigorates me. The entire student body gathers for chapel three times a week, with Christian study groups on Tuesday (I’m in Gene Edward Veith’s group!) and wing chapel on Thursday.

Already there have been multiple student-initiated worship and prayer times around the flag pole or on the steps of Founder’s Hall. There are countless strong bible-based, cross-centered churches in the area. For class I’m reading about the Puritans, studying J.P. Moreland, and examining the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

But my personal devotional life is suffering…

You see, besides all of those things, there are also papers due (tomorrow!), huge ping-pong tournaments to practice for, gobs of reading for Western Civilization, amazing people to hang out with, and a workout room in which to get buff over this semester. There just isn’t time for the most important thing — quiet time with God.

Seek first the Lord and His kingdom…

The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33 are on a giant post-it-note on my desk. Mainly because dozens of upper-classmen took the time to sincerely challenge incoming freshmen to make their relationship with God priority number one while at school.

I’m beginning to understanding why this was such a sober-challenge. It’s not easy to do. It’s hard. More than that, it’s not just important. It’s vital. Even with all the spiritual food I’m receiving, nothing can replace the careful cultivation of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I can still starve spiritually at PHC.

There is victory in Christ…

I need to feed my soul. But this is going to be an ongoing fight. Praise the Lord, that “He who began a good work in [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Please keep all of us PHC students in your prayers. We want to impact the world for Christ. Our feet must be firmly planted in Christ.

Other Posts and Resources:

  • Feeding Our Hungry Souls: As teen guys we have an intense, constant hunger for all things edible. We are acutely and painfully aware when we miss a meal or any one of the dozen snacks we scatter throughout the day. This takes on special significance once we start viewing God’s Word as food for our souls.
  • The Bible Or The Bullet: A sixteen-year-old girl was martyred for refusing to spit on the Bible. She laid down her life rather than disrespect God’s Word. Are we willing to lay down our magazines? This short article shows how we face a daily choice to neglect or embrace God’s Word.
  • Devotions/Quiet Time Category (Resource Section): It’s easy to forget that has a whole resource section full of the best articles we’ve found on a myriad of topics. The Devotions/Quiet Time category has several gems from C.S. Lewis, Carolyn Mahaney, Noél Piper, and others.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I’ll keep the PHC students in prayer. It is hard to make sure that we are seeking the Lord and His Kingdom first in our lives, but as you said it is also vital that we continue to grow in our relationship with the Lord, before anything else, no matter how many other things are going on.

    God bless you.

  • Thanks for that reminder about devotions. With school now taking up quite a bit of my time, I’ve found myself slacking off on my personal devotions too. But I know school is no excuse. This post was just what I needed to hear!

  • It is good to hear that you guys are having a good time at PHC!! I will be praying for you and all the students there and at christian colleges. Quiet time with the Lord is a hard thing to keep up with but it is well, well worth it.
    God Bless,

  • I can definitely relate to the college busyness! I’m glad you’re having a good time there, however. Yes, personal devotions are so important, and so far, by God’s grace, I’ve been able to keep having them each morning. It means getting up early, but it makes the whole outlook on my day better than if I’d just gotten 45 minutes more sleep.

  • Hey guys,

    Let me just encourage you that if you can develop that consistency now, when life gets even busier (and it will) that commitment to spending time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer will become a part of who you are to the point that your day will not seem right if that time is not kept.

    Having said that, rejoice also in the grace of God that He has redeemed us through His Son. There will be days when you may not spend time in His Word the way you would like. That does not mean that you have failed (necessarily). But, you will be tempted and tested with thoughts like “I already read my Bible in Bible class.” I can say that because I am a Bible teacher in a Christian High School and a student at a local seminary. I find it way too easy to think that because I prepare lessons from Scripture that I have spent the required time cultivating my relationship with the Lord, when in fact I have turned God’s Word into one more academic subject.

    I pray that you will indeed continue to carefully cultivate your relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • Hey Brett,
    Thank you so much for your post!! I’m so glad you and Alex are having a good time. I’ve been trying to fit devotions in as well. It’s hard for me to find the time and actually sit down to have a quiet time with God. Life can get kinda busy… especially with school. I don’t want to starve my spiritual life. Thank you SO much for your VERY encouraging post!!! I will be praying for you. 🙂

    ~ Sarah

  • Will be praying for you guys. Even though I am not at college, I know how hard it is to do personal quiet time. Our flesh can rebel and we can put other things ahead. But as I know you guys are fully aware, the times we are in the Word sustain us….and are worth doing the hard thing!

  • Glad to hear that your brain is happy. 😀

    Anyway, thanks for that great post and reminder!

    I can understand what you’re going through ’cause my college is a Christian college as well. There are chapel times, prayer/family times. There are also discipleship groups (GReG – Gold Refining Groups) that meet up once a week. Despite the fact that I was being fed spiritually, the personal contact I had with God suffered a great deal. Through much discipline and by the grace of God, I was able to revive it once more. 🙂

    I’m praying for you all!
    God bless!

    ~ Alyssa C.

    P.S. What is wing chapel and how does it differ from the other chapels?

  • Brett-
    I know exactly how you feel. I’m in my second year, and it’s challenging. I want to have a better relationship with God … and yet I don’t pursue one. And I can blame it on everything between here and the moon: but why am I sitting here interneting and enjoying myself wasting some time instead of talking to God?

    We can all get distracted, and sure, there are lots of priorities you guys have. God knows and understands that. Just remember that without Him, you couldn’t do anything anyway. If nothing else, at least thank Him for that every day.

    🙂 I’ll keep you guys in my prayers. Thanks for all your encouragment to the rest of us.
    In Christ,

  • Great to hear things are going well and you are getting a lot out of being there.. College must be a big (and exciting!!) adjustment.

    A quick note is that I find when I make the choice (and it can be very hard) to get up earlier, out of my warm bed, and spend some time with God, in prayer and Bible reading, things seem to go much better that day. It brings an order and clarity to my life. Since I have made this commitment I have grown much closer to God. And I don’t know how it is for others but if I don’t do it first thing I have a hard time “fitting it in”. Just some thoughts.

    I will pray that things go well for the two of you. I do admire all that you guys are doing. Keep up the awesome work!!
    God Bless!!

  • Brett-

    I’ll be sure to keep you and Alex in my prayers. I can relate as many of the people here already have, as school has picked up I feel like there’s so many important things I need to get done and absolutely no time to do it in. So, my quiet time gets pushed down lower on the list. But like you said, spending time with God is vital and it should be at the top of our lists. We have to make time for it.

    It’s good to know you two are having a good time over there at PHC 🙂 and thanks for sharing your struggles. It’s encouraging to know that someone struggles just like I do!

    In Christ alone,
    Rebecca Whitpan

  • The same thing is happening to me @ BJU- I have to remind myself to have devos, and then force myself to take a break and do them in the mist of all the busyness.

  • Thank you much for expressing your struggle in this area. It’s nice to know that even the founder of the Rebelutionaries struggles with this problem! I will be praying for you, along with all the PHC students.

  • I’ve always found a struggle with devotions and quiet times, and also with the “pray without ceasing” verse, because honestly that’s very challenging. But for me personally I’ve learned that praying without ceasing is just really talking to God all day. And, even though I’m still no where near to talking with Him continually, it still gives me fuel for the day.
    I will be praying for you both!
    Thanks so much for all the encouraging words!
    God bless you,

  • Aha, I just had a discussion yesterday with a friend about a similar subject.

    Priority, sometimes we can get so caught up in the things of God that we forget the God himself. My time and relationship with God has suffered, greatly. In the past year. It is like a well; sometimes if you take your eyes off the light you begin slipping down the rope of life. A vital relationship with God is the light shining in the top of the well. Bitterness and anger were pulling me down the rope toward the darkness below. The further I slid from the light the weaker I became. There comes a point when you have slid so far that the light is totally invisible. Somewhere after that point I came to a screeching halt. God pulled my check line, and I realized the extent to which I had fallen. My strength to climb comes from the light, but when you cannot see the light…you have no strength and you have to take it on faith. It is not easy to make a vital relationship the #1 priority of your life. You have no strength, no light, and everyone is falling around you.

    I thought this pretty much summed up the conclusion we came to:
    “Once you have lost the fire you once had for Him you seem hopeless, even to yourself. You are, but He is not. Pray when you feel like and pray when you don’t. Read his word regardless if you ‘have time’ . Beg Him to instill an unquenchable hunger and thirst for Him. The more you beg for something the more you want it. Beg. Pray. Read. Even when you don’t want to.”

    I doubt this applies to you Brett, but writing it all out helps to stick it in my mind. ( I’m sure you can understand that!)


  • Brett,

    Thank you for the great post! With school starting this year and finding it much heavier than in the past (I’m now a junior with several AP classes! yikes!), I’ve been tempted also to slack on my quiet times. I really appreciate your humility and encouragement to “seek first the Lord!”


  • Thank you SO much for that post–it couldn’t have been timelier! I am in my first year of college too, and my Bible-time has been suffering as well. I get up at 6:15 every Tuesday and Thursday morning and drive 45 minutes to college. Six fifteen is real early for a 7:30-person like me, and so I have let quiet-time slip on those days. Anyhow, long story short–I’m getting up at 6:00 from now on! Do hard things! 🙂

  • Thank you for the reminder! I have actually found that I have more time for a quiet time in the morning than I did before work this summer which is great. However, my school is not Christian and the environment drains me spiritually. I am very grateful to be living at home and going to school with about a dozen people from my church, though. I can see them during the day and at our weekly singles meetings and I have an accountability group which helps as well. It often feels like I need a spiritual shower. Carrying a Bible around and reading a little between classes sometimes is definitely something I need to do more of. I guess, for my situation, I am not just pressing into God for myself, but also as a witness to the unbelievers I meet everyday. There are lots of opportunities to share the gospel through conversation, discussion in class, various outreach oriented organizations, and just living the gospel. I cannot be a good witness if I am not actively depending on God.

  • Being at a Christian college does make it easier to excuse a lack of persistence in personal devotions… but, as you reminded us, they are still so important.

  • The leader of our small group often points out that he doesn’t do personal devotional time. He is more of a group Bible study kind of a person he claims. He says he doesn’t think it this a big deal and not everyone is cut out for quiet time. What do you think about this?

  • You got it Brett. That’s what exactly I felt when I was in first year of college (I’m now in my fourth and final year). I need to do all my mountainous homeworks and strive to be an exemplary Christian student in a secular university but all the same I need to give a quiet quality time with my Lord and Savior. It’s a bit exasperating at times (and a lot of times) when I wake up early in the morning and it seems that “there isn’t just enough time Lord, I’ll have quiet time with you later. I don’t want to be late because that is not exemplary.”

    I justified my neglect of of quiet time with my goal to be an exemplary Christian. I arrive early for class but feel empty physically (I don’t eat breakfast sometimes) and spiritually.

    It was really hard to keep things in order. My brain just want to explode with so many things that I have to do but I learned so much from Matthew 6:33. I’ve proven the verse many times. Everybody, especially for those who are in college, NO MATTER how many homeworks and projects your professors pile up for you, take a very, very deep breath and turn to God. Always to Him first before anything else and He’ll truly bless you. If you seek Him first, everything will just follow in place according to His good and perfect will. Trust Him, He’ll do it.

    Rebs, Here’s a link to Charles Hummel’s classic essay Tyranny of the Urgent. It’s a very helpful and encouraging piece of literature. I think it is a must-read for every Christian.

  • Brett! It was so good to see a post from you. I love reading Alex’s posts too, but miss hearing your voice sometimes.

    With my best friend entering her freshman year at college and struggling with similar issues, what you are dealing with is quite close to my heart. Both you and Alex will continue to be in my prayers. God be with you!

  • Thank you for that great post! I have been struggling myself with keeping my devotions centered on God. I have time every day set aside for my personal devotions, but instead of diving into His word and growing closer to God, I find myself distracted and thinking about the paper due in a couple of days or the test I have coming up. I’m a senior in high school this year and am already taking some college classes. Next year though, I plan to go to the Masters College in Santa Clarita. As I prepare for that it is such a good reminder to keep my personal time with God a priority. No matter how Godly the college is, it cannot fulfill the need of my own personal time with God. Will be praying for you!

  • You give an accurate depiction of one of the hardest struggles of school, especially, may I say great Christian colleges? My one piece of advice to myself, as well as incoming freshmen, is keep the quiet time! =) Chapel, Bible classes, and godly professors can so easily become a crutch and the easy way out of getting up early! It’s hard to get up early when you’ve just stayed up to 2 AM (or earlier!) studying, but let me encourage you and exhort you as a fellow sojourner and saint, fight the fight to keep the correct priorities! May all our lives reflect our love for the Lord in every way – including at 6 AM, 7 AM, or whatever time is necessary to get up in order to dwell alone in the Lord’s presence!

  • Okay, so this definitely hit me hard. Ever since school started for me (and I go to a community college which I am sure is less demanding than PHC) a few weeks ago, my time with God has been suffering. While I still spend time in God’s word every day, the amount of time has lessened and my mind is often more distracted with so many things that didn’t seem to be there before school started. All that to say, I can relate and am so thankful you posted on this. I need the reminder that the most important part of my day, the biggest priority in my life, is the one I seem to be pushing aside the most. Thanks for the encouragement! I’ll be praying for you guys.

  • Frances writes: “The leader of our small group often points out that he doesn’t do personal devotional time. He is more of a group Bible study kind of a person he claims. He says he doesn’t think it this a big deal and not everyone is cut out for quiet time. What do you think about this?

    I have a very hard time buying that. Here’s why: it’s very difficult for any relationship to continue deepening without one-on-one interaction. He’s essentially saying, “I only go on group dates with the lover of my soul.” Now, that might somehow work for him (time will tell), but for him to be presenting it as normative is foolish — and comes across as attempting to justify his own laziness.

    Also, I’ve already written (and spoken) about the idea of saying “I’m not a _______ kind of person.” In my opinion it simply means, “__________ is hard for me.” I probably don’t have to tell you my encouragement for your small group leader: Do Hard Things.

  • I will be praying but I know what you mean. I started college about 3 weeks ago and have realized that living in a suite with 3 other girls doesn’t give me much time to myself or any quiet time practically. And with everything else that has been going on devotions have been really hard, and the when I do they always seem rushed which isn’t good. There are so many distractions! We have chapel as well as other Bible studies but God is the most important thing and its hard!

    So I will definitely be praying for ya’ll and every other freshman in college this year!

  • I am right there with you guys. I just started out at a rigorous, high quality (though secular) private university, too. I am going through exactly what you are struggling with. There are so many good things to do on campus, and so many things I have to do, but I must not forget the best thing–time with God. Even though I usually get in some Bible reading, I struggle to make time for more than that. I find myself always fitting it in between other things, reading to finish, not to change. Part of the answer for me has been to consecrate my quiet time as the first thing I do when I wake up. But I still have so far to go in this discipline. I need quantity to have quality time with God. I have to have the faith to believe God will work everything out if I trust Him in putting Him first before obligations that might appear to be more urgent. It is hard!

  • Thanks for this reminder. I’m a freshman at a secular university. My spiritual life has been suffering as well. I have hardly any encouragement and so much homework. I’m having to seriously disipline myself like never before. This post has been an encouragement to me. Thank you.

  • Thanks for being honest, Brett – it’s occasionally good for us to see that you aren’t the perfect Rebelution guys who have it all together all the time. (haha) And for the reminder I always need to hear, and especially now. Even when you’re not super busy it’s easy to “find” other things to do besides that most important thing. In praying for you guys I’ve pondered what specific things you might be facing, so this definitely helps me know how to better pray for you, and Alex.

  • This really aligns with what I’ve been thinking about lately. One on one time with God is definitely important, and I know I have the time, but somehow it always gets pushed to five minutes before I go to sleep. By then, all I can do is read a chapter, say “Please help me with this,” and turn off the light. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Reading this, and linking to the articles recommended, I was also reminded of the article in the same series, Meet Your Commander N’ Chief. In it, you pointed out that, “We must be consumed with Christ or we will be consumed with this world and by this world.” That’s what I need to keep remembering — I need to be consumed, literally consumed, by Christ, or the world will filter in and steal more and more.

    Sometimes I worry about whether I will have the courage or not to take God’s Path or for situations of crisis. The truth is, I won’t if I focus/rely on uninspired books or philosophy I study, my own strength or knowledge, people, or man’s ways and wisdom and think that will consistently or sufficently pull me through heroically or push me in the right direction when I’m reluctant to do what’s hard. I am, by fallen nature, a coward and no one but my Savior can change that. I get in a scary situation and my instincts tell me to do the easiest thing — or at least, to by golly not do the one hard thing I should do (take an easier hard route, Nicole!).

    But if I rely on God, I will overcome — and to the degree which I learn reliance on Him by feeding on His Word and drinking of the Living Waters, to the degree which I learn to recognize His Voice and to know and trust His Character that I might follow Him, to that degree and that degree alone will I have the courage and all that is necessary to overcome this world, it’s compromises, and the evil one and will I know whether I am on the right path or not and will I be able to hear the Voice of the Good Shepherd and thus follow after Him when the way is slippery, the wind is howling, and blind hired hands are telling me, “No, go that way!”

    So, thanks for your encouragement through this article, Brett. And, on a humorous note, you mentioned, from a guy’s perspective, relating physical hunger to spiritual hunger. Well, since I was around 7 or so, I’ve been a little bit hypoglycemic — simply speaking, if I don’t eat when I should, I get grumpy and, in extreme cases (such as if I go out for a bike ride without eating breakfast), I’ll just faint. =) The funny thing is how I’ve realized that I’m the same spiritually — it’s just kind of strange-funny. If I haven’t been spending time in God’s Word, I can easily be… well, grumpy. And if I try to exert myself spiritually when I haven’t been feeding on God’s Word or spending enough time alone with Him, then I basically fail big time, fall in other people’s eyes, and feel like I would rather be unconscious. Anyway… enough about me.

    P.S. I really shouldn’t be commenting — I’m scheduled to be writing something else right now — but a couple days ago I used a prayer from the RNC, and being reminded as it was about God humbling us so that we will seek His Face, alone, and having courage, I was excited and wanted to share a portion of it with you (in case you only caught the end of it, as I initially did):

    “Almighty God, we are grateful for the gift called America. We’re thankful for the freedom to celebrate as we are doing and have done this week. We have repeatedly invoked Your blessing on our country, and as we do, we’re reminded of the words You gave to Solomon: ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, You will hear from heaven and heal our land.’ So we pray, humble us Lord, humble us as a people to serve You. Help us to seek Your Face, alone. Give us the courage to turn from our self-centered, wicked ways. Hear us, oh Lord, as we ask You to heal our land.

    … And, oh Lord, in humility, we ask that You remind us that we cannot put our country first unless You are foremost. For as Jesus taught His disciples, Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
    -Dan Yeary at the 2008 Republican National Convention

  • I’ll be keeping y’all in my prayers. 🙂

    Since this summer I’ve been really hungry for the word – maybe just because I’ve started reading more anyway, but I think it’s also a God-thing. I slacked off almost all of last year… but now I’ve also started reading with a notebook nearby, to jot things down, whether verses, personal revelations, little prayers… it helps so much, both keeping me focused and just having that time in the middle of the day just to unwind.

    God bless

  • Thank you so much for your encouragement. Staying focused on God and making time for one-on-one with Him is hard when the day’s duties tend to pile up but we must persevere. Thank you for that reminder.

  • As a fellow freshman in college, your article basically echoed my own recent thoughts. College is busy. You have studies (and ping-pong 😉 ). Then there is church, church activities, and Christian groups/bible studies on campus. There might be the illusion that you are sowing into your relationship with God, but just because you show up to an event doesn’t mean it substitutes for personal time spent with God.

    You mentioned, “I can still starve spiritually at PHC.” While I am not on an officially Christian campus, Christianity has a strong presence. I’ve quickly realized that statement will pretty much apply to anyone. Simply replace PHC with your school and it applies to you too. The danger is in in thinking that there is something about your school or about you that makes you immune. It doesn’t. Each one of us still has to be conscious of our personal spiritual health and that we are sowing into and developing our relationship with God.

  • Kyleigh: That’s a really good idea… about keeping a notebook nearby. I use my journal quite a bit, but not during my personal Bible study time. Writing notes always keeps my mind focused more. I cant believe I’ve never thought to do that before! It seems so obvious and natural. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  • This post is very encouraging. I also struggle with making time for personal devotions as I am also in my freshman year of college. However, despite the fact that I am at a Christian school, I have not been getting the deep teaching I had anticipated. This school has “convocation” three times a week and various other services, but as the school is so large and has such a diverse student population (including many non-Christians), the teaching is somewhat devoid of the “meat” I had been expecting. Be sure to remember that, despite the fact that it adds to your business, the teaching you’re receiving is utterly invaluable! I know that you probably realize that, but sometimes it’s hard to fully grasp the value of something we experience so often.

  • I think you touched on something that is tough for every christian, and convicting for me. What scares me is if it’s hard for me to make time for quiet time now, as I finish high school, teach, work part-time, and help lead worship at my church every week, how hard is it going to be next year when I (hopefully) head off to Covenant College? I can’t imagine it.

    This is something, I think, so hard that we need God to help us more than usual.

  • I can totally relate! I am a freshman in college, taking a good load, working 35 hours a week, and driving to and from work. My time with God has definitely suffered. A friend offered me a great piece of advice. she told me to look for God in the moments and thank him for what i see. I have also changed when i spend time with God. Instead I have spread it out all over the day. THis has made my walk with God so much richer.

  • Thank you so much for the encouragement, Brett! I have been having the same struggle with keeping my relationship with God of utmost importance, especially when I’ve got homework piling up! The Holy Spirit has used these first few weeks of college to reveal my heart to me in sometimes painful ways. It has been difficult, but it is so wonderful to know that we serve a God who is constantly drawing and pressing us to Himself, so that we might have our souls satisfied with HIM and nothing else.

  • I went to a teen camp at PHC and am really jealous of you 🙂 PHC doesn’t offer my major, or I would totally want to go there! Such a beautiful place with such a huge, amazing, goal. And how cool is it that you are in Gene Edward Veith’s small group????

    Thanks for posting this – I love being challenged to do hard things now, every day of my life. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away imagining all the big hard things we can do 🙂 I’m kind of struggling right now, so it was so good to be reminded to focus always on Jesus first, and my relationship with Him. Thanks!

  • I have always struggled with having devotions. A lot of the time it didn’t really matter. However, since I moved to Florida two years ago God revealed his special calling in my life and I’ve grown a lot. But now I’m up against an all to familiar road block. Devotions. I really need a lot of prayer. The good thing is that I realize this is an issue, I can identify everytime I choose something else, and I’m struggling. The bad thing is I’m not changing. I have all this head knowledge but I am coming to the point where I’m not sure just how to live it out. God help me! I understand this is a critical point in my life where I am learning hard things. It’s a training ground that I feel I’m failing. I see God’s grace is there but I’m still somehow hesitant to reach out and take it. I’ve realized my ultimate goal isn’t to live for Christ. I need to change my heart. Please pray. I could use any advice or encouragement.

    In Christ,

  • Hey! I just found your website after reading the first few chapters of “Do Hard Things”. I have just started reading it with my youth group, and I can’t wait to jump in and stand out for Christ. Sometimes it is hard to think of new ways, but I’m very excited for the challenge!

  • when you were talking about how you are so busy with other things.. it made me think of myself. i a BIG paper and loads of homework due tomorrow. and tests tomorrow in school and i want to go to the football game to night and then out to dinner afterwords and i am procrastinating on my homework. and it just reminds me that i can do anything that i set my mind to and so now i am going to go write that paper. thx.

  • [b]Andi:[/b] A great verse is 2 Kings 20:3.

    “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” (NIV)

    This is reminding us that we should always walk in the counsel of God, seeking His wisdom. Without Him, we are nothing. We cannot even take a single step without Him. All of us have struggles staying loyal at times. It’s hard. In my case, I find myself saying “I don’t have time. Maybe later.” I am partially enlightened with this prospect, somehow convinced that I am a better person because I “will” devote time to Him… later. And then it never gets done. As an example, Job 15:4 says:

    “But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God.” (NIV)

    This is a tough issue in the lives of many Christians. We want so desperately to stay true to Him, follow in His ways, and stay completely immersed in His Word, but fall short. A good idea is to set a time when you will read and pray, and write it down, along with a meaningful Bible verse. Tack it up above your bed, write it on a post-it on your computer, whatever. Perseverance leads to prosperity. There’s no better time to start than right now.

    “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (NIV)

    This is what 2 Corinthians 11:3 states. We must always, always keep our eyes gazing up. Trust Him. It’s an extremely hard thing, but this is when self-discipline makes its entrance. By showing Him and others that we [b]can[/b] do hard things, we’re also building our character, and investing in something that will become a beautiful quality in our life someday if we work at it.

    God bless you, Andi. I’ll be praying for you.

    In Christ,

  • Thanks Kailyn. James 4:16b says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Prayer is something I definately need and appreciate. I am often reminded of the King David when I think about devotions and God’s Word. David sought God constantly and knew he needed him. I am like you, “I don’t have the time, maybe later.” I have so much to do I feel suffocated and like I’m sinning in just stopping what I’m doing to read my Bible reading. I’m not gazing at Him but myself. Thank you. It just seems to clarify your issues if you have another person coming along beside you to help. God bless you.

    In Christ

  • As a student in Bible college, it is so easy to spend hours each day picking apart the Bible, writing about it, quoting it, analyzing it, etc., and still neglect a personal time with the Lord, allowing Him to speak to me through His Word. In fact, that is exactly what I’ve been doing this past week, even after being intensely convinced this summer how precious a dailiy early-morning quiet time is…

    Thank you so much, this was EXACTLY what I needed to read today. In fact, I came to my computer crying because of different things that have been going on, and your post reminded me of where I need to go right now: INTO THE BIBLE.

  • Hey, Brett and Alex!
    Thanks so much for your latest post! I also just started my first year as a full time college student. Unfortunately, I am not going to a Christian college which makes it even harder. Thank you so much for reminding me the importance of my quiet time especially when I have so many things draining me spiritually. Thank you for being the encouragement I needed today to keep on living for God in my quiet time as well as in public.
    Have a great freshman year at PHC!

  • Thank you so much, Brett for posting this. I can relate entirely. As soon as I began college again, the hectic schedule and list of duites completely took over my time and my priorities. It is so easy for me to justify the fact that my studies come first, because that is what everyone and everything in the world would agree with, but I am reminded that without my personal relationship with God being nurtured, nothing else will be successful, nor will it matter ultimately. Also, just as a side encouragement, Bill Gothard talks about the fact that daily devotions can really help to increase one’s academics. While I would never encourage one to devote time daily to God just because there are blessings involved (such as better grades), God does bless those who give Him first priority. I have experienced undeniable improvement in my studies when I give God first place in my day.
    On a side note, I am reading God’s Harvard, and have become quite engrosed in the PHC life. Despite the fact that Mrs. Rosin puts it in an extrememly negative light, I am able to overlook all of her bias and see the amazing impact that all of you PHCers have had, and will have on our nation. I wish I could join you. It makes sense that the studies are so demanding, as you are the future leaders of America.

  • I am so thankful for this post. It is right where I’m at. (…though I’m in 8th grade, not college.) Since I started school in late August, my devotions have all but disappeared. I realize now how hungry my soul is. I still read my Bible for about 5-10 minutes, but, needless to say, that left almost no time for meditation and prayer. I’m so thankful to God for this merciful wake-up call!

  • I’m right there with you Brett! I’m in my first semester on a college campus and have a full and sometimes hectic schedule, yet I know that God needs to not just fit into the schedule but have priority over other things. It’s incredibly hard to do. I’m struggling. But, God is faithful.

  • I hear you. It’s ironic how easy it can be to lose focus on the important things at a Christian school. As a junior who still struggles with putting God ahead of homework, campus activities, and those all important relationships, I can tell you that it really just comes down to making a decision.

    We get our homework done because we’re intentional about it. We’ll stay home from activities and stay up until 2, 3, 4 in the morning to get it done.

    And we are able to build relationships with people because we’re intentional about going to wing events, popping into other people’s rooms, and even walking over to the dorms where we don’t live (though that shouldn’t be much of an issue for you at PHC).

    So it makes sense that the only way we can have that amazing relationship with God is if we’re intentional about it. We’ll get our homework done because we want good grades. We’ll socialize because we want friends. Those are things non-Christians even do. As Christians, we’ve got to make a point of being with God, setting aside time for it as if it were important as homework, friends, and work study–because it’s more important.

  • Hi Brett, I just started reading this post when an admissions counselor from PHC called me. Ironic!! I will be praying for you and Alex both as you seek to keep Christ first in your day and life! Every blessing. Perhaps I will see you in a week-and-a-half at Patrick Henry!

  • Brett-
    Just some encouragement – even if you only spend 5 or 10 minutes in the Word on your really busy mornings, but ask God to open your eyes before you begin, you will be blessed by what you find. A lot of the Psalms are really good, and they don’t take very long to read. On my especially busy mornings, I read one of them because, well, David knew how to say so many things in few words. Really think about it during the day, and pray throughout your classes and ping pong tournaments.
    I pray that you, Alex, and the PHC students will be blessed this year at college. Keep the fire going!

  • I can relate on so many different levels. Matthew 6:33 has taken on a whole new meaning for me since I started college. It’s almost like a faith/trust issue. When I am met with the choice to either study or to spend time with God, do I trust God enough to take care of me even when I sacrifice study time for time with Him? If I seek first good grades, then I am really saying, “I don’t trust You enough to keep what you promised in Matthew 6:33.” But If I do seek Him first, then I am really saying, “I trust you enough to be faithful to your promises — that if I seek You first, then ‘all these things will be added unto me.'”

    I made a video last month that somewhat captures the spirit of what you’ve written here. You can find it on my blog if you have time to watch it in the midst of all the craziness.

  • I can understand your struggle… my college day is from 8-5 at the shortest, and at home I have seven younger siblings. Quiet time is basically non-existent. I’m also a neurotic perfectionist that ”has to” get 4.0s… and that doesn’t help. I go to a secular college, and I’ve decided that the time I spend there will honor God before my studies- I intend to ‘live out loud’ before the other students there. Since quiet time is already non-existent, I take my Bible to the cafeteria/lounge area and read there. It’s turned out to be an amazing opportunity for witnessing, and while I’m still trying to find some real quiet time, at least I’m being a light in the darkness.

  • Dear Brett and Alex,

    It would be a great help if, while you are at college, you could regularly post lists of what you are reading for various classes. This way, those of us who have not been able to get a biblical-ly oriented education for various reasons, can expand our knowledge and reading with some initiative. An online bibliography for say your Western Civilisation class would mean that we could source the book ourselves, read it and perhaps discuss it here.


  • Thank you so much for this latest post! I can completely relate to this. Also, I just started reading “Do Hard Things” and am already very inspired. I’ll be praying!

  • Thank you for this honest post. I have to agree that when I’m on vacation, even if I’m in a beautiful place where there is so much surrounding me that points to God, my quiet time really suffers! I just have to keep focusing on Christ and, when I see the beautiful things, remind myself to thank God for all of His beauty. Also, I haven’t been praying for you guys and I really should! I will be praying for you!!!

  • I saw the book, The Soul of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in a book sale yesterday and when I recognized the author, my brain racked for information where I saw the name Veith before. I went here to check and yes, this is where I first saw it.=)

    Is the Gene Veith, author of that book the same Gene Edward Veith, who leads your group?

  • In my view (and practice), it’s consistent with making God the first priority of our life to give the first part of the day to seeking God in the early morning (Psalm 5:3). This is a higher priority than checking news, weather, and sports. It’s a higher priority than anything else. Since we want God’s blessing throughout our day, it seems best to put time for seeking God first (Matt 6:33) before putting anything else ahead of it. In Acts 6:4 in my KJV, the twelve appoint others to serve tables and give themselves to prayer (listed 1st) and the Word of God.

  • Amen. What an encouraging post!
    I’ve been hard pressed to find time to read my Bible with year round select soccer, school, and other activities. Thanks Alex and Brett!
    David Dierdorff

  • Thank you so much for this post. I feel like I am in the same place. I just started my freshman year of college and I know that I am making too many excuses to God, “I have to study for my history test tomorrow.” “I really need my sleep.” or “I have to check my facebook page.” I have been using all of these excuses to slack off on my personal devotion time with My Savior. I am seeing how much I need His strength to renew me every morning. He is what gets me through the day and I hate when I dont make the effort to have that time with Him like I should. It is a real challenge and and it does take a lot more effort to make the time than it did in High school. I was really encouraged by this post and this whole website! You guys are such a blessing to me! Lets keep on the Path that God has called before us!

  • I think what you said is so true. I will be praying for you guys, and its a really good reminder to put God first because without him you can do nothing. He should be our everything and he is who gives us life everyday and every minute of our lives.

    You mentioned how you guys and the other students of PHC want to impact the world for God. Me and my friend from school want to do the same thing. I go to a small private school and the heart for God just isnt there. Were trying so hard to encourage people and be examples for them. Were praying and everything. I am currently reading for book and it has helped me soo much. The book encourages me everyday and keeps on reminding me that I can do hard things for the Lord and that I can make a difference.

  • One thing that Moreland talks about in his book, “Kingdom Triangle” is the importance of spiritual disciplines. He writes on several disciplines that are absolutely necessary for effective Christian discipleship, and this is something that I’ve been learning myself. It’s encouraging to read your post, funny b/c this is the same thing that’s been on my mind ever since I’ve started in my own academic program. My community group talked about the importance of avoiding busyness but avoiding becoming spiritually passive…anyway, I hope you find that balance and continue to grow in the Lord.

    Off to class…

  • Hey guys,
    Thanks for this post. I’m struggling with the same thing; this is my first semester in college and I’m so busy….I have NOT been faithful in the Word. Thanks for the reminder and the challenge to stay spiritually fed…

    I’ll be praying for you!

  • Thanks for the post, guys!
    My sister and I heard that story when I was younger and it was the one of the prompters that caused her to accept Christ as her savior.
    What a great reminder to live dying to self for Christ! Even if I’m doing something “good” (like reading THE BOOK or on this website) it’s not the most important thing.

    God bless!


  • I totally fell you on that. I am actually a 16 yr old missionary in Haiti. Especially with the hurricanes coming in, I have been working my butt off. You would think a missionary would pray a lot… well… its either pray for an hour or feed a village. You can see my delima. But I still feel God’s presence behind me 100%.

    By the way, I just got hands on your book ‘do hard things’ by accident. I love what you guys are doing. it encourages me to read more…

    …if i ever get the time. lol. God Bless.

  • Hello Bret and Alex,

    Your blog subject made me think about what we’re doing at Messiah College to help foster a heart that seeks God first. I’m part of the Chaplain team there and what we felt led to do was challenge the college community to partake in a 30 Day Fast for the month of October. However, our tag line is: It’s not about food. It’s about focus. Instead of focusing on taking food out of your life, what if you took a “time-engaging activity” away and in turn replaced it with an attentive search for God’s voice? We have various suggestions on our facebook group and event called Think:Fast which include fasting from hurrying, superficial conversations, Starbucks and many others. We also have an in-process website made: It looks like Valley Forge Christian College is looking to do this for the month of November.

    Please pray for us during this time that we would hear God’s voice in the midst of our activities and have reordered hearts in the process. Most of all, that transformed lives would result in giving God glory. If you are interested or would like to get involved in some way you can e-mail me at [email protected].

    Thanks for all you do guys!

  • I completely understand what you are going through. I spent a semester at a school that sounds much like the one you are attending. We had chapel three times a week, small groups, a focus on the Bible in our studies. It was amazing. But I also found it hard to find time for God. I loved it there, but for many reasons I decided not to return.
    It’s just nice to hear that there is someone else out there that finds it difficult, but is still pressing on!

  • I agree totally! I am a Senior in high school, so I have not gotten to the stress of college yet, but it is so easy to get distracted from spending enough time with God! When there is so much work and so many activities, it is so easy to get my focus off of where it should be. And it is so ironic that we have so many activities that are about God, so much youth group stuff, and Bible studies, but we seem afraid to actually sit down and spend time with God. Prayer is so easy, but it is so hard! It is so rewarding, and so easy to just do, but it takes an effort to be consistent with. And I do devos every day, but the temptation is always to cut them shorter than I should or not put my heart into it because of how tired I am. But that is truly the only way to be prepared to face a hostile and needy world and show them Jesus!

  • Hi, this is my first time on this site, and I like it. I am currently looking for colleges. Is there anyone out there who knows any good aeronautics / aerospace engineering Christian colleges? Thanks bunches.

  • wow!!!
    I never thought of thinking about it like that!!!
    I know how you mean about homework, I may be homeschooled but I go to a coop and they give out homework, which can be PRETTY challenging!!!
    Instead of my schedule making room for GOd and all he has for me,but my schedule should be centered around him, and I lay down my flesh and take up my cross and follow JESUS!!!!
    Like you were saying, it is VERY hard,but w/ GOd all things are possible!!!!

  • it is hard to seek the kingdom of heaven FIRST but it must be worth it if god says to, He obviously knows what he is talking about! you’ll are doing great

  • Thanks for the post,guys!!I am really encouraged to know that I am not the only one struggling on this issue.


  • I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website :).

  • Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thanks

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →