personal devotions: not

There is a tradition among evangelicals called “personal devotions”,  “devotions”, or “quiet time.” Devotions is a time set aside each day when someone meets the Lord through Bible study and prayer. Our pastor Jack through Facebook directed us to this thoughtful expose of it.

I have not had personal devotions for years now. In Jesus we live all day (and all night) in God’s Presence. So in a true sense not one time or one place, nor one event is more sacred than the rest. We stand on holy ground all the time. Yet if we’re to emulate Jesus as in following him and his example, which I think in a sense we most definitely are called to do, than we should take special times to draw near to God. Times of listening to God through his word/scripture, and prayers. But they need to be a natural part of who we are. Not something we tack on even for a good end as simply the means of that. But rather an expression of the life and love which are ours in the grace of God through Jesus.

Does that mean we should avoid doing something unless we want to do it? Hopefully our wants are coming more and more in line with God’s revealed will in Jesus and as found in scripture. But I think not. I can’t live on my feelings, or even wants. Although I would hope that the overriding passion and will of my life is to live in God’s will. In the words of Jesus: “Not my will, but yours be done.”

Instead of having my “quiet time” I hope I am having “devotions” and “quiet times” regularly as I seek to live before the God who is always Present and active in my life, and in life all around us. If having a special time each morning which you cherish and guard out of love for God, if that is how you do it, very good. You probably have a leg up on me in that regard. But if it’s done simply out of a “have to” mentality, then it is worthless in God’s eyes. God wants our devotion, our hearts, our love, our all. Not some work we do for him merely out of duty, even slavish, greatly sacrificial duty. As the post linked above (first link) eloquently tells us.

Let us remember that we live in God’s Presence always. And in that let us learn to glorify God more and more in all of life responding to his grace. With ongoing repentance and faith, along with the hope and love that are ours in Jesus, lived out together for the world.

6 comments on “personal devotions: not

  1. Kathy says:

    Well, I have never heard this line of thought before in regards to “quiet time”. So, being the slow muller that I am, I will have to mull this over. I think it makes sense. We can follow Jesus’ example, when He drew away to be alone with God. But I do not know of any place in scripture where we are *commanded* to spend set apart time with God every day. It can be a good spiritual practice, but it can be a guilt trip, too. Thanks very much for bringing this up.

  2. kim says:

    Good morning. I have commented before on this, ;-). I think, for me, it helps me to set my focus on what is most important in my life. The world is ever present and my sinful self. The morning time alone with God helps me to have the right mindset for my day. It helps me ask for the Holy Spirit’s power (Luke 11:13–If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’). But I think, perhaps, having a set aside time may be part of a personality thing. I do have a friend who does not do this, but she is in prayer continually throughout the day. I , too, am in prayer, but it really helps me to have the focused time in the morning. I also find that the word of God does work powerfully in me, but how you get that word in the day may vary for people who don’t have the devotional time. Memorizing is very helpful to me as a form of meditation. Anyways, the set apart time helps me to focus on the fact that it is in Him we live and move and have our being—others may have a different personality type and may not need the set apart time?

    • Kim, Thanks! I like what you say. Probably there are plenty like you out there. And there are probably a good number who do something like that however regularly, just because they think they have to, or that it’s expected of them to be a good Christian, or to be spiritual, or whatever.

      I do acknowledge wholeheartedly that to do something well, to really get settled into it, and in a good way means regular practice. Daily for me, though if I miss a day or more or become a bit irregular in a practice which is helpful, I don’t want to get hung up over it.

  3. nancemarie says:

    i liked your comment about walking on the water…while looking at Jesus.

    • I don’t think I do it well, but to be living out the faith at all is to be walking on the water so to speak, as we keep our eyes on Jesus. I guess I get pretty wet too often, and sometimes I have to cry out to Jesus as I’m falling in.

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