As a new follower of Christ, I was taught that personal devotional time was the main stay for my spiritual growth. “Doing my devotions,” “having a devotional time,” or the camp version, “Time for devos!” were all part of the lingo.
I may be wrong, but my impression is that this emphasis has waned in Christian living in the past decade. We don’t hear much about “devos” anymore. Perhaps it has been replaced with listening to sermons, blogging, social media posts about evangelical issues, and busyness. But it is still central for growing as a Christian.
So, just what is a “devotional time”? Is it reading the Bible, studying the Bible, prayer, or journaling? Well, it involves each of these – but it is not the core. “Devos” were called something else in years past – namely, “Communion with God.” The term “communion” means “intimate fellowship or rapport.” A devotional time is privately going to the Lord in prayer and Bible reading, to seek His face and commune with Him.
John Owen, the Puritan theologian wrote, “I come now to declare what it is wherein peculiarly and eminently the saints have communion with the Father; and this is LOVE – free, undeserved, and eternal love. This the Father peculiarly fixes upon the saints; this they are immediately to eye in him, to receive from him, and to make such returns thereof as He is delighted withal. This is the great discovery of the Gospel…”
In other words, if we have turned to Christ in faith, then we are fully forgiven, reconciled, justified and adopted by God. Our greatest privilege is that we now have a relationship with God based on His infinite love in Christ. His disposition towards me is no longer wrathful, but full of fatherly care. My devotional time then, is more than learning more Bible or listing my needs – it is time to commune with Him…to“make such returns thereof as He is delighted withal,” meaning, I respond to His love with love. In a private place (Matt. 6:5-6), I go to Him in praise, thanksgiving, divulging my grief, extolling Him, listening to His Word, treasuring His promises, learning as I listen, etc. – and God delights to share all this with me.
This is why daily devotions are still essential for spiritual growth. Time in God’s Word and time in prayer is time spent with Him. What a privilege of grace!
Let’s make the most of our privilege this week.
Thanks! See you Sunday.