Your daily devotional life is your springboard for developing a rich, rewarding and productive relationship with the Lord. The key to living a life of continuous victories beyond human comprehension, is be in touch with God in a practical way, also called “fellowship of the Spirit” or “abiding in Christ”.
This article is not a daily devotional. Neither is it a “how to” or some “step-by-step” mechanical guide on how to carry out the routines of a devotional. Rather, it is an in-depth summary presentation of what a daily devotional is. Though many Christians are familiar with devotional writings, not many of them really do understand what the devotional is.
NB. “The Devotional Life: Your Key to a Spiritual Life with Results” was launched March 14th, 2018. The Free PDF is no longer available.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL LIFE UNDER FIRE
Spending time with the Lord is facing a real threat of potential extinction. The demands of modern life seem to be incompatible with taking time out to spend with an invisible God. It is as though we should reconsider if prayer and meditation still belong to this age or they should be left alone with the less busy generations past. In fact, Pharaoh called the attitude of seeking God laziness in Exo. 5:17.
You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD’ (Exod. 5:17 ESV).
Before moving any further, there are two very subtle lies we must reject from the outset. The first is that life is too busy today for God. It is true that the pace of life has increased a thousand times since Jesus’ day. Even contemporary teenagers have more crammed into a day than an entire combined household of their ancient counterparts! However, life is never too busy for God—who is life in the first place.
The second is the common misconception that it is normal for the Christian life to have “highs and lows”. Though his has been the experience of the majority of christians, it is not what God has designed for us. The scripture says about those who are pay attention to the Word :
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Ps. 1:3 ESV)
A tree by the river never experiences dryness. Its leaves are fresh, and its fruit abundant, everyday of the year. This is the divine picture of your life-whether this is your experience now is a different question. The reason why the devotional life is crucial is because it seeks to put you in a place where you live like a tree planted by the rivers of living waters, always green and fruitful.
Why is the daily devotional time under threat?
But why is the daily devotional time facing the threat of extinction? While we often cite a lack of time, this is a lie I pray will be excavated from your mind before the end of this article. Though our time today is certainly under pressure, contrary to what many Christians believe, it is not the MAIN reason why many find it so difficult to establish a solid daily devotional life. I will expose five underlying causes of the lack of time available for our Creator.
1. Priority mismatch
Your perceived priories are the most powerful personal factors dictating how you allocate your time. Your priorities are driven by your perception of need. You place more value in the activities you believe are most necessary to meet your needs or ideals of success, whether your perception is truly accurate or not. Many believers sincerely do not understand why a consistent devotional time with God is critical in their lives.
2. Misperceived need
An even bigger problem is our perceived need for God and His Word. Sadly, many believers still see God’s Word simply as a Christian instruction manual, rather than the source of our very life. As a result, our perceived need for God’s Word is blurred by an inadequate appreciation and understanding of the role His Word plays in our lives.
3. The wisdom problem
The wisdom problem is closely related to our mismatched priorities and misperceived need. We need divine wisdom to discern our most important needs and set our priorities right. If believers truly grasp the impact of their relationship with God on every area of life, they will give the Word the true attention it deserves.
4. God’s work dilemma
This casualty of ministry might surprise you. Over-extending ourselves in God’s work erodes and destroys ministers’ time of intimacy with the Lord. As God’s precious children, we must never think that God called us primarily to work for Him. Our relationship with Him must have priority over the work He has commissioned us to do.
Enemies of the daily devotional life
While there are many enemies of our time, space allows me to mention just three of them here.
Distractions are anything that come in our way to interfere with the time we set aside to spend with the Lord. The work God has commanded us to do can even be a distraction! The classic story of Mary and Martha below explains this beautifully without further comments.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me. “But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. (Lk. 10:38-42 ESV)
2. The religious spirit
This silent destroyer occurs when we engage in the form of religion without the substance. The religious spirit focuses on the practice rather than the purpose of the practice. We might even begin to measure our performance based on how consistent we are in our time with God. The mindset of the religious spirit kills the quality of our time spent with the Lord.
3. Crisis Christian
Believers with this attitude only seek God when there is a crisis. For them, God is a Problem Solver, so they only come to Him when they need answers. This is a heightened risk for believers with a misperceived need for God, as explained earlier. Christ is more than your problem-solver; He is your very life (Col. 3:4).
Why bother about your daily devotional life?
Many Christians ask this very reasonable question. I will show you how your relationship with the Lord has a huge, practical impact on all areas of your life. If something does not solve an emotional pain, financial crises, health turmoil or relationship unrest or similar daily to day issues we face, they turn to matter less to us.
The Flourishing life
Your life, both spiritual and physical, is like a tree. The leaves indicate the overall well-being of your body, soul, and spirit. The fruits are virtues like love, joy, peace, and righteousness, all characteristics both God and man desires. A tree planted by a river will never run dry, even when the sun is high above in the sky. The secret to its fruitfulness is not the tree, but it’s proximity to the river.
Simply stated, to flourish in life, plant yourself by the living waters of God. This is where your daily devotional life comes in. It opens the flood gates for the Holy Spirit to nourish your relationship with Christ. Devotionals bring you to the water of life, to abide in Christ every day. For many believers, their mindset and routine has planted them in a dry place far away from the River, and they wonder why their leaves are drying up and they struggle to produce fruit.
So why should you care? Your fruitfulness in life will depend squarely on where your practical, daily habits plant you.
WHAT IS A DEVOTIONAL?
The phrase “daily devotional” today
Today we understand the phrase “daily devotional” to mean a short piece of Christian writing, often based on scripture, for each day. Even Wikipedia defines a daily devotional as such! Check out their insightful article here.
However, your devotional life is more than reading a brief, inspiring, encouraging Christian writing every day. Neither is it mumbling a few word of prayer every day. Let me use two simple real-life examples to illustrate the concept of the daily devotional life.
1. Care of our body
How many of us doubt the importance of proper daily nutrition for a healthy body? If we make careless nutritional decisions, we might be leaving the earth to be with the Lord sooner than we think. I hope not! The body must be cared for, whether you are a Christian or not. We do not eat our daily meals solely for pleasure. Daily meals provide the vital nutrients we need to stay productive. Even after you eat breakfast, you might decide to go to a restaurant with your colleagues to have lunch. This meal might be a pleasure meal, and not really vital.
Just as your body needs a daily portion of nutrients to live and function, your spirit also needs a daily dose of the Word of God to “stay alive” and operate. Do you remember Jesus saying man