“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Devotions are the name that we give to our daily time with God, usually spent reading the Bible and possibly a Bible study guide or book, and praying. Devotions are not something we do just once, they’re not a habit we develop overnight, and they’re not a practice that comes to us naturally. Devotions require commitment, dedication, loyalty – our devotional time requires devotion.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (15:4) The Bible, with its 66 books, 31,102 verses, and countless topics that are just as relevant today as they were when they were written, is given to us for our learning and for our comfort. The Bible isn’t merely a history book; it is to be our tool book, and the greatest weapon in our arsenal, after all, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
This is one of the reasons that some Christians neglect to spend time in devotion with God’s Word. Because the Bible discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, and it’s quick to convict us of our sin, it can make for some uncomfortable self-reflection. As Tozer once said, “An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly.” This is just another reason we ought to devote more time to God. “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading,” wrote C.S. Lewis. This is because God’s Word has the power to transform, and the more time we spend in the Bible the more we will grow.
There is a misconception that our devotional time will always be filled with some spiritual enlightenment, with “aha” moments, and feelings of closeness with our Lord. This is not always the case – and that’s not a bad thing. We may at times experience enlightenment, there will be truths revealed to us that we’ve not seen or understood before, and our devotional time will bring us closer to our Lord even when we don’t feel it, however our daily soak in God’s Word is meant to develop, reprove, correct, and instruct us over time. Devotions take time. Just as going to the gym doesn’t give you overnight results, so devotional time in God’s Word won’t transform you in a day. And just as our muscles require regular use in order to maintain their form, so our spirit requires regular nourishment in order to remain right with God.
Our devotional time will determine how we handle life’s trials and tribulations. When we spend time in solitude with scripture, memorizing verses, and understanding how God’s Word applies to our life, we prepare ourselves for those deep valleys when all we have is God and His Word to rely on. The precious gift of recalling God’s promises to us can entirely change our perspective. The commitment to obeying God’s commandments can strengthen us in our current circumstances.
“I will run the way of thy commandments… Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.” (Psalm 119:32-33). Our devotions require devotion.