By Scott Armstrong
I need to confess something at the onset of this article. It’s regarding my spiritual walk and I am not proud of what I’m about to say.
I am very faithful at doing my devotions every day, but I do not always meet with God.
What?! Doing your devotions is reading the Bible, praying and reflecting, all with the purpose of growing closer to God. How can you do all those things and not meet with God? It doesn’t make sense!
You are right; it’s insane! It’s like meeting up at a café with a friend you’ve longed to catch up with, and then spending the entire time on your cellphone. I’ll go further: it’s like doing THAT and then returning home and contentedly checking “Meet with friend” off your to-do list.
I am faithful every day to read my Bible. I pray and sometimes listen to Christian music. But if I am not careful, it is all hurried. Lost in the assault of appointments to come. And worst of all, forgotten 5 minutes after I close the Bible.
It needs to change. And that is why we took yesterday as our office to dedicate to a day-long spiritual retreat: listening to God through silence and his Word, confessing to one another, and praying for individual and ministry requests. It was a necessary time of renewal that each one of us sorely needed.
As the rain started to softly fall upon the grass and shrubs in our front yard, God led me to Isaiah 55, especially verses 10-11:
“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
I sensed him say:
“Just as the literal rain falling around you replenishes the soil,
allow me to refresh your soul every morning.
Don’t just open your Bible; dwell in my Word and let it dwell in you.
I desire to remake you into my likeness, but that takes time.
Are you willing to enjoy me or do you see me as another task to be completed?”
So I have committed to preparing the soil of my life to receive his nourishment every morning. That can’t happen in five minutes of express-devotions. Honestly, it won’t occur in 15 minutes either. It will require making sacrifices in other areas. THIS is the most important area. THIS is the only real area that matters anyway.
If you have no devotional life, creating a habit of 5 minutes a day may be the first step. God will honor that. But if you have already developed the habit (or fallen into a rut), you need to take the next step. Will you commit with me to make the necessary adjustments in order to move from ritual back to relationship?
In other words, let’s make sure we are faithful at “doing our devotions” every day. But let’s make sure we truly meet with God during those times as well.
“Listen, listen to me…and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” –Is. 55:2