If there’s one part of the Christian life that comes easy to me it is doing my devotions. Even as I type it out I can see the Christian-ese dripping from that phrase – doing devotions. As if highlighting Bible verses, jotting down prayer requests, and reading through the latest Christian best-seller for thirty minutes each morning could possibly summate the act of devoting yourself to anything. But you know what I mean. And whatever you call it – quiet time, spiritual contemplation, meditation – I like it. I love reading, I love sitting still, I love pretty pens and notebooks, I love Jesus. And coffee is usually involved. So far I’ve got this devotion thing down.
And then the day happens. I have to get up from my corner on the couch and I go on with my life. I close the Bible, I snap lids on the pens, I say amen and I go forward.
This is the pivotal moment. The moment that decides whether cross-references and memory verse recitation meant anything or if it was simply an excuse to sit for a while. This, and all the moments that follow, is the test of true devotion. Do I leave my commitment to Jesus there, with my ‘devotion materials’ or do I invite him to journey with me through the remainder of the day?
There’s many great things about the Evangelical Christianity of our culture today. But it has unfortunately developed a subconscious doctrine that our walk with Jesus hinges on this idea of doing devotions. Think about – what’s the first thing you’ll suggest a new believer to do as they start out their faith? Read your bible and pray. I am a staunch advocate of these spiritual disciplines, but I think we’ve limited ourselves by believing Christianity means we do devotions.
God intends to radically invade our lives. Our whole lives. Every aspect of our day-to-day existence. Big things and little things. They are all to be part of our devotion to Him. It is not about the Bible reading you do each morning – it is about the way that truth transforms the hours that follow. The way you go about your menial tasks, the things you consider important, the way you interact with the people on your path. Egg scrambling, going to the gym, completing work projects, having lunch with a friend, getaways with your spouse, scrubbing the floor, relaxing at the end of the day. This is how you will show your devotion to the Lord.
The hour spent with your bible open can only be considered devotion if it has bearing on the way you live the other 23 hours in the day.
I probably could spend the whole day on my couch pouring through the Bible. I did just that in college when I was writing exegesis papers for Biblical studies classes. It was fun. But don’t think of me any better of a Christian just because I think Greek word studies are fascinating. Look instead to the person whose devotion stretches beyond their time in scripture and into the rest of the day. The one who invites Jesus to join him on every venture, in every task, through every minute of every day. The one who loves the people around him as Jesus would. The one who treats each responsibility with dedication and discipline because he knows he is representing Christ. The one who carefully stewards his body, his money, his time, and his home because God has entrusted these resources to him. The one who sees the Creator’s image in the beauty he encounters and the people he meets. The one who has a hearty laugh and weeps openly – fully acknowledging the joys and sorrows each day holds. The one who is singing God’s praises when he rises and continues to hum the same song as he climbs into bed at the end of the day. This is the one who is devoted to Jesus.
So ask me again, do I find doing my devotions easy?
Well, no. Not if I’m truly practicing devotion. But easy or not, this is the only way I want to spend the rest of my life. Anything less would be a waste.