Linger. It means to lag around. To dilly-dally. To stay, even after you could have left.
For me, linger borders on simple luxury.
You know, like life-giving conversations with friends across a table loooong after the last bite of dessert was eaten.
Like a stolen moment in the midst of a busy day where, for a few short moments, you allow yourself to get lost in your own thoughts while sipping a hot cup of fragrant chai tea. (Yes, my tea of choice!)
Like standing by the crib of your sleeping grand baby and being so mesmerized by their sweetness and smallness that you just can’t pull yourself away.
But lingering can also cause problems. Just ask Lot’s wife.
As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away to the punishment of the city.’ But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out and set him outside the city, one said, ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away. (Genesis 19:15-17 ESV)
But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (v26)
Do you ever wondered why Lot hesitated and lingered and his wife looked back–had one last lingering gaze? Why did they lag around, dilly-dally, and try to stay longer when they could have (should have!) left?
Maybe they didn’t really believe that they had received a life-or-death-kind-of-warning from the angels.
But I think the reason had more to do with their heart’s condition than the warning–more specifically, it had to do with what their heart had grown attached to.
Although I don’t know specifically what that was for Lot and his wife, I do believe the following three insights were true of them then and remain true of us today:
1. We grow attached to what/who we linger around/over/with.
2. That which we are attached to influences and shapes us.
3. We must wisely choose what/who we will linger around/over/with.
That’s why it is essential we spend lingering-time in God’s Word–each day. It is in this time that we are transformed by the renewal of our mind.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)
This kind of transformation can occur only as the Holy Spirit changes our thinking through consistent study and meditation of Scripture. The renewed mind is one saturated with and controlled by the Word of God.
Take time to reflect on these questions that will help you identify your daily dilly-dallies:
- What am I lingering around/over/with in this season of my life?
- How are these things/people influencing me?
- Do they keep me so occupied and/or distracted that it diminishes the length and quality of my lingering-time in God’s Word each day?
- What will I chose to do based on what God has revealed to me during this reflection time?
What dilly-dallies actually keep you from lingering-time with God each day?