Devotional time… all Christians know they should do it, but not everyone finds the time, that is, makes the time do do it.
You’ve heard the lecture: “You shower every day, don’t you? You eat every day, don’t you? You watch The Office every week, don’t you?” Then why don’t you have a dedicated time learning about, spending time with, and getting to really know, your Lord, your God, your Savior?….
Because you don’t make the time for it. If it’s important, you will put it on your calendar.
Anyhow, I’m speaking to the choir. More importantly, I’m speaking to myself.
Definitely, life gets in the way, but there is a saying I have lived by:
If you think of it, it’s a dream.
If you write it down, it’s a goal.
If you calendar it, it becomes reality.
So, that is but one reason. We don’t make the time… why? Because we don’t think it is all that important. Put it on your calendar – beginning of the day, middle of the day, end of the day, it does not matter – as long as you block it out, it will happen.
If the Word of God, the “Bread of Life”, is our spiritual food, why do we settle for one cracker every Sunday? Would you feed your physical body the way you feed your spiritual body? Might you fast all week and then gorge on 21 meals on Sunday? Of course not… 14,000 calories on Sunday does not a balanced diet make. (Unless, of course, you are Michael Phelps. But then again, you’re not.)
Make it fun
One of the reasons we don’t have a daily devotional time is that, like a bad diet, it can be bland. You don’t ingest eat three meals of Soylent every day and call that “eating”, do you? Likewise, many Bible reading programs are like that… You get the calories… you go through the motions, but it’s not … well… yummy.
Start with Coffee! Everything goes great with coffee… and if you do your devotionals in the morning without coffee, well, you’re doin’ it wrong!
Or water. Water’s fine… or wheatgrass juice… whatever… Just get started!
Seriously though, you need variety. The most effective Bible reading plan I have yet found is Professor Grant Horner’s 10 Chapters Per Day plan. The beauty of this plan is its variety – you get 10 bookmarks, each one covering a different “chunk” of the Bible: one is for the Gospels, one is for Acts, one for the Pentateuch, etc… That way you “cycle” through the different sections several times per year at differing rates, never reading the same chapters in the same reading. The coolest part of this plan is you quickly see how the Bible is interconnected – how the totality of scripture tells a single story of God saving a people for Himself. If this is not the plan for you, there are many others on that page. Just find one that works. Don’t want eggs for breakfast? Go for some waffles. Waffles rock!
Add some “seasoning”
Reading ‘just’ the Scripture, especially for a person young in the faith, can be daunting. You will have imagery, social constructs, cultural backgrounds, etc. that will be foreign to you. Enlist a study aid, like the Reformation Study Bible or the ESV Study Bible. A good study Bible will help you understand the context of what you are reading.
Add a Devotional journal. The one I use is TableTalk. Every month there is a different theme for that month’s readings, a short daily reading, and a number of articles. I read one article each day and the daily devotional. Since there are fewer than 30 articles I go to my back issues and re-read some of the older ones so I usually have two copies of TableTalk on hand – one for the devotional and one for the articles. You can also make it a practice to read a set of devotional blogs or other devotionals like Voices From the Past, or many, may others.
Finally, some time during the day I take some time out for devotional reading. Right now I am going through Spurgeon’s sermons. Charles Spurgeon is known as the “prince of preachers” and after getting through the first few I was easily able to see why. It’s almost an addiction now!
What’s your plan?
Do you currently have a plan that you like and is helping you in your daily walk? Do you have questions about starting to find “the best” devotional plan for you? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to know, and I’d love to help…