In many evangelical churches and parachurch organizations the “quiet time” is the primary and indispensable Christian spiritual practice. I will admit from the outset that I really dislike the terminology here. “Quiet time” makes me think of Precious Moments, poorly done religious art, herbal tea, and potpourri. (No offense, if you like anything on this list)
A quiet time usually involves reading or studying the Bible, praying, and perhaps memorizing passages of Scripture. Some use this time to read through the Bible in a year. For many, the quiet time is the litmus test for one’s walk with Christ: Did you have a quiet time today? How are your quiet times going? What are you studying in your quiet time? How many quiet times have you had this week? It would be interesting to look at the history of this practice, but rather than doing that, I’d like for us to consider the following question: Should I stop having quiet times?
It seems to many as if we have lost the virtue of tenacity in our culture, compared to prior generations. Whether this observation is simply a bit of curmudgeonliness, or is in fact true, it is the case that we often don’t achieve what we could in our personal, professional, or spiritual lives because we simply aren’t tenacious enough.
“In both our actions and our thinking habits, tenacity is often the difference between success and failure, fulfillment and frustration.” Philip Dow, Virtuous Minds
Parents should equip their children to acquire, develop, and practice intellectual virtue, because this is a necessary (but not sufficient) requirement for shalom. But what is intellectual virtue? An intellectual virtue is an excellence of the mind. It is an intellectual character trait that enables one to reason well for the purpose of living well. Some examples of intellectual virtues that Scripture urges us to embody include attentiveness, prudence, teachability, intellectual tenacity, intellectual humility, love of truth, and wisdom. It does not matter whether one becomes a college professor, computer technician, artist, or electrician. Simply by virtue of being human, we live more fulfilled lives and can perform our jobs better if we possess the intellectual virtues and apply their fruit to our lives.