The results of my 2014 reader survey indicate that 100% of this audience struggles personal spiritual growth (you can still take my short reader survey). One of the questions asked on the reader survey asks for topics that represent great challenge. The question allows for selection of multiple topics. The selections thus far indicate clear commonalities on a few topics. However, one topic screams for attention. Every single person that has taken the survey thus far has selected personal spiritual growth as an area of great challenge in their life. Marriage ran a close second with a really high percentage, but 100% is very telling.
As promised in the survey notes, I hope to utilize the results of the reader survey to ensure that you can find content that persuades, encourages, and equips you to be God’s man at home. So this week I would like to cover 5 steps to a consistent devotional time.
Personal spiritual growth can take place in most every aspect of life, however devotional time with God is certainly the most fruitful. It is in our devotional time with God that we build a closer and more personal relationship with Him. A strong and healthy relationship requires time together, regardless of the relationship. I will not enjoy a close relationship with my wife if I never spend time with her. I will never have close relationship with my teenager daughter unless I spend time with her. My boys won’t understand a real bond with me until I dedicate individual time to foster such a bond. Likewise, our relationship with God will only grow if we spend time with Him.
Much like the challenge of devoting time to our earthly relationships, spending sufficient time with God can be crowded out by the busyness of life. Without intentionality, our day will pass without us spending needed time with God. To ensure we devote time each day to our personal spiritual growth in our relationship with God, let’s examine these 5 steps to establishing a consistent devotional time.
Put it on your calendar
Many will suggest that your devotional time should start your day. First thing each morning should be devoted to God. This is a valid suggestion that happens to have much biblical backing. However, I won’t harp on when you have your devotional time. I’m confident that God loves us all and that He treasures each moment we spend with Him, regardless of what time of day. More important than the time of day is the dedication of the time. Put time with God on your calendar every day and don’t allow anything else to intrude upon that time.
This step is especially applicable when you plan your devotion time for first thing in the morning. If you hope to have a consistent devotional time with God at 6am each morning, you can’t begin to prepare for that time at 6am each morning. Preparation for your devotional time should start the night before. Set your Bible, devotional book, and journal out in the location you plan to have your devotion. Go to bed early in order to get sufficient sleep. Prepare the morning routine that you will follow before devotional – make coffee, shave, get dressed, etc.
This is super important to the consistency of your devotion time. By eliminating the distractions in your devotion time, you will foster a much closer relationship with God. That closer relationship will become the driving force in your consistency. Eliminating the distractions involves finding an area of solitude to have your devotion. Be sure to get electronics gadgets away from you area of solitude. Things like email, social media, and internet news will be tempting distractions when you know they are readily at hand. Keep it to just you, God, your Bible, and whatever devotional book or journal you are reading.
No doubt that you mind will begin to rationalize and create seemingly good excuses to skip your devotional time. “You’re not getting anything out of it anyway.” “Skip just this one, God will understand.” “It’s a big day at work today, you’d better get in there early.” Prepare your mind prior to these tempting excuses enter that you will reject them. A consistent devotional time is much like exercise. You don’t always want to or feel like doing it, but you push on through to do it anyway. More times than not, you feel much better afterward.
Don’t beat yourself up
As much as you set your mind to reject the excuses, it is very likely that you will skip a devotion time here and there. No big deal. Don’t fall into the trap of beating yourself up about it. By do so, you associate your devotional time with a feeling of guilt. Move on. Be sure the next devotional time is on your calendar, ensure you prepare beforehand, remove any distractions, and reject whatever excuse caused you to miss in the first place.
Boyd Bailey says “your appointments with the Almighty teach you to live life well.” Make a daily appointment with God and begin living life well.
How do you plan to ensure consistency in your devotional appointments with God? How has a daily devotion with God impacted your life?
Devotional book recommendation: Seeking Daily the Heart of God Volume 2