If you mention the word devotions, most Christians probably think of an activity they do. However, its definition is “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or a cause.” What I found interesting when looking up the word is that it’s not a verb—it’s a noun. That means instead of devotions being something you do, it is something you are. It is not merely a time you set aside or a book you read. Devotions is loving, being loyal to, and having an enthusiasm for God! It is devotion to Christ.
What a Devotional Life Is . . . Not!
Christians are called to live devoted to God. But before diving into ways on how to live that way, let’s look at what it is not.
1. Condemnation. You should never feel condemned. For years, I felt like a bad Christian because I didn’t spend an hour praying every morning or read my Bible for two hours in the evening. A life of devotion isn’t about feeling bad because you didn’t pray or read enough. Never feel condemned because you aren’t following a formula.
2. Cookie-cutter. You are who you are. God formed you, and He knows your personality. Don’t pattern your devotional life after someone else. Find what works for you!
3. Private. Who you are and the life you live in Christ should not be private. Everyone should know you love Jesus and that you are enthusiastic about God. Model what a life of devotion looks like in front of your children. Make it a point to let your kids see you spending time with Jesus. It will stick with them.
Developing a Devo-Life
Now let’s look at several ways to cultivate, what I like to call, a devo-life.
1. Pray continually. Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray continually and be persistent in our prayers. I pray throughout the day because I know God is always with me. No matter what I’m doing or where I am, I carry on a dialogue with the Lord. Maintain an awareness that God is always with you and talk to Him as you go about your day.
2. Read the Bible! The Bible is God speaking directly to you. It is the primary way the Lord speaks to His children. However, I realize for some people, simply telling them to read their Bible is easier said than done.
God Likes Fortune Cookies
One time a student came up to me and said, “Ms. Denise, you talk about reading your Bible. I’ve never read mine. I don’t know how. Can you please show me?”
“You mean you don’t know how to read?” I asked.
“I know how to read!” she replied. “I just don’t know what to read in my Bible.”
She was really embarrassed. I told her what I tell teenagers all the time: start in the Book of Proverbs. I explained that Proverbs are God’s fortune cookies to us. There are 31 of them, so she could start by reading a chapter every day of the month. I’ve had teenagers come back and say, “Oh, Ms. Denise! It is like a fortune cookie! I didn’t know God liked fortune cookies! That’s so cool!”
God is cool! His Word is alive and powerful. Take the time to let it speak and minister to you.
1. Journal. When a scripture stands out, I write down what God is saying to me through the verse. I like to go back, especially during challenging seasons, and read what God said to me through the years.
2. Devotional books. If you need a jumpstart in your life of devotion, find a book that fits your life and use it as a supplement to your Bible.
Denise Hagin Burns
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