Three Suggestions For Devotions

Three Suggestions For Devotions

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I’m going to assume that you agree that a regular time devoted to God through prayer, Scripture reading, and study is important in the life a Christian. If not read Psalm 1 and 1 Thessalonian 5:17. You’ll quickly discover the need to commune with God through prayer as well as hiding His Word in your heart. I’m going to share with you three suggestions on improving your daily devotions. If you don’t currently practice this discipline then I’d encourage to begin and use these suggestions as a way to jumpstart your spiritual growth.

 

  1. Set an appointment with God and keep it.

Robin recently told me that she was scheduling a doctor’s appointment for me. Why? Because it’s been years since I’ve gone in for a routine checkup. I don’t have any irrational fears of the doctor, nor do I believe the doctor is unimportant. I’ve just always been “too busy” to schedule an appointment. It hasn’t been high on my priority list, though it should.

 

It’s all too easy to let the immediate overtake the importance of everything else. I have deadlines at work, school, or needs at home and I just can’t afford the time out of my schedule to see a physician. As I’ve been reminded, I can’t afford not to see the doctor. It’s important for my health, my family, my work, etc.

 

Likewise, brother and sister, you can’t afford not to spend time with God daily. He is your prize, comfort, strength, and salvation. God has saved you so that you can glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. You can’t fully enjoy Christ if you don’t spend time worshipping, learning, and adoring Him. Whether you are a night owl or early riser, find the time when you are at your best and devote it to your Lord.

 

  1. Persevere through distractions.

Early on in my walk with Christ I thought prayer time in Church was the best time to plan out my day. What football games would I watch? Where are we going for lunch? What did the Pastor say? We are fallen people who’ve been saved by God’s grace. With our new nature and old nature at war with one another we are reminded that our perfection is in Christ, not fully realized until His return.

 

Therefore, we might desire to pray perfectly with unadulterated focus, but that’s just not reality. We might be hungry, busy, or ridden with ADHD. No matter what the situation we will be distracted. I often begin to pray and my mind wanders into good and bad things. I can often think about my sermon preparation, my congregation, or my plans for that evening. This can often be discouraging as well as frustrating.

 

God understands your condition more than you do. He has sent the Spirit to live inside of us. He has many functions within the life of the Christian and one of those is guiding us in prayer. We can ask Him to guide and focus us through our prayers, pointing us to Christ and our need for Him daily.

 

  1. Select good resources to help you along the way.

The Bible must be the centerpiece. It’s the Word of God and is His revelation of Himself to humanity. It reveals the reality of God, the depravity of man, and the redemption found in Christ. Regardless of how many times you’ve read Scripture you must keep reading and rereading. Why? It’s how God speaks to us today. The more familiar you get with how God thinks then more you can discern what is godly and ungodly.

 

A good Study Bible or single volume commentary can be good helps when you are confused or don’t know the context of a passage. I personally recommend the ESV Study Bible, CSB Study Bible, and the New Bible Commentary. The nuance of background and linguistics is immense. When you are looking to understand what God is saying it’s important to understand the original context in order to understand the original meaning. The original meaning will always be the same for today, however, the application could be slightly different.

 

A good book of prayers can also be helpful. I get easily distracted in prayer so it is helpful for me to be guided. Sometimes I use the Psalms to guide my prayers and other times I use  the Valley of Vision (VoV). VoV is a collection of Puritan devotions and prayers that are deep, theologically sound, and applicable. These devotions help me reflect on the goodness of God and gives me words where I otherwise would remain speechless.

 

Lastly, a good book of devotions is helpful though sometimes problematic. I have found authors like Joe Thorn (Experiencing the Trinity and Note to Self), John Calvin, Martin Luther,  and others to be incredibly impactful in my life. They are able to write with clarity and depth about God in a way that is refreshing, convicting, and encouraging. These authors help me see God in a light and perspective different than my own resulting in a greater depth of love for God and His work. I’ve found works like Jesus Calling and others to be problematic due to doctrinal errors and lack of depth. These works can often sacrifice depth and clarity for surface level theology and is better suited for snacks rather than dinner.

 

Spending time with God is undoubtedly central to the life of a Christian. For this reason we should set aside time regularly to worship Him through prayer and study. As we learn more about who God is our depth of thankfulness and love for Him will increase exponentially. I pray that God would continue to draw you close to Him through His Spirit and you increasingly find joy in Christ.

 

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