Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Devotional Time

Scripture never says to have a quiet time. What it does say is that we need to bring our requests to God (Philippians 4::6,7; Ephesians 6:18; Matthew 6:5-13). It also says that we need to know, understand, and follow God's Word (Colossians 3:16; Psalms 1:1,2; 2 Timothy 2:15). To do these things regularly requires consistency and planning. Having a regular time set aside for them can be one way to do this. But it also can become a legalistic ritual. And we can get caught up in the details, like evening versus morning. (I am an evening person myself). I have also found it can limit prayer and the consideration of God's word to that period of time. But not scheduling it may mean we will never get to it.

All of us have different personalities. We need to decide what works for us. But we need to focus on the purpose. If we have the idea that Scripture is God's message to us, it will motivate us to want to know what He has to say to us (Psalms 19:7-11;119:9-16; 2 Timothy 3:16,17). It also helps if we see God as a loving Father who has saved us from sin, rather than as a tyrant who is just waiting to punish us if we get out of line (Romans 8:31-39; John  3:14-18; Galatians 4:4-7). And if we recognize that God is the One who provides for our needs (Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:20). That He is the One in control of our lives to work things together for good (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10; 1:11). Then we can see why it makes sense to come to Him with our requests and thanksgiving.

But we need to face facts. We are undisciplined people, and we may need to plan if we want to accomplish these purposes. And one way to do this may be set aside a specific time for prayer and meditation on Scripture. But if we make it into just one more spiritual duty, we have missed the point. For it is only as we see beyond the outward requirement to the real purpose that doing this makes a difference (John 4:24; Malachi 1:10; Matthew 6:1). But the important thing is not to try to force everybody into one unbending paradigm. It is to see that the purposes of God are accomplished in our lives (Hebrews 5:13,14; Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 2:19).

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