There are several pictures I get in my mind when I think of someone who has a devotional life. Someone who rises early (before the sun and the kids) to pray and read from a little book that has each day prepared with a scripture reading and a commentary on the reading. (A devotional)
Someone who reads through his or her Bible every year. Someone with stacks of Devotionals on their nightstand. Someone who always has an open bible on his or her coffee or dining table.
The question I ask myself is, “do these descriptions define what it means to have a devotional life?” And, “Can we have a wrong perception of what it means to have a devotional life?”
Devotion defined: de·vo·tion noun
- deep love and commitment
- great dedication and loyalty
- strong enthusiasm and admiration for somebody or something
- fervent religious or spiritual feeling (formal)
- the act of devoting something or being devoted to a particular purpose
- prayers or other religious observances, especially somebody’s private prayers or observances
I would like to answer a few questions in the next few paragraphs. Questions like: What does it mean to have a devotional life? Do all Christians have a devotional life? Who in Scripture exemplified someone with a devotional life? How can you/I have a successful devotional life?
1.) What does it mean to have a devotional life?
Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus recounts the greatest commandment:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
- All your emotions given to God
- All your affections given to God
with all your soul,
- All your being
- All your life; breath; physical being.
and with all your mind
- All your way of thinking
- All your understanding
- All your intellect
- All your imagination
2.) Do all Christians have a devotional life?
2Co 11:3* But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
It is possible to believe that doing acts of devotion are in and of themselves the devotional life. Many have gotten caught up in thinking that reading their bibles or devotionals and praying at a certain time in the day makes devoted Christians. On the contrary, it is because we are devoted to Christ that we read our Bibles and pray.
3.) Who in Scripture exemplified someone with a devotional life?
2Ki 20:3* “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth (mind) and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight (soul or being).” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
1Ch 29:3 King David “Moreover, because I have set my affection (heart) on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: (being)
If we examine the lives of persons in scripture we will find either those who followed the Greatest Commandment or didn’t follow it.
Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and the patriarchs, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Joseph and his brothers, Jonah and The prophets, Job, Samson, The disciples, Judas Iscariot, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, Paul and the Apostles, Titus and Timothy, James the brother of Jesus, And the list goes on and on……
In each case these were either successful in their walk with God or not. Those that were devoted experienced a close walk with God and the peace that comes with it. Those that struggled in their devotion were markedly either failures or just squeezed by.
4.) How can you / I have a successful devotional life?
1Ch 28:9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.
1Ti 4:13* Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Here’s a few things that will help strengthen devotion to God.
- Devote yourself to Know God
- Know God’s character and attributes
- Know God’s voice
- By prayer and reading
- Devote yourself to Serve God
- Give yourself to God
- Keep God’s Words
- Devote yourself to Seek God
- Study God’s Words