The alarm goes off. It’s time to begin another day. It’s a meeting; it’s a looming deadline; it’s a working lunch; or it’s finding purpose in the routine. As you and I ponder a new day, is the Lord pleased with the way we invest our hours, minutes, and seconds? Are we giving Him the best time of the day, time that may be left over, or no time?
Is a daily devotion with the Lord that important and necessary? Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Joshua was one of God’s called leaders. In order for Joshua to serve and lead effectively, his time with the Lord and His Word was foundational. Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Here are seven ideas to take your personal devotions to another level.
- Use the right tools. A surgeon, carpenter, dentist, or electrician needs to use the right tools. As you and I come before the Lord, what tools are important and essential? You and I always need to use a Bible. Using different (and credible!) translations is beneficial. A way to take notes is important. We need to write down insights and action steps the Holy Spirit gives us (Jas. 1:22). It’s possible that you may use a hymnbook, electronic resources, praise music, or other printed materials to deepen your walk with Jesus.
- Find a special place. Jesus spent time with the Father early in the mornings. Mark said that Jesus got up before daylight, went a solitary place, and prayed (Mk. 1:35). As you and I designate a place to meet with God, that place becomes special (and even holy). We can walk by the place and know that’s where we encounter God each day. I encourage you to find a time and place that are free from distractions and interruptions.
- Give the Lord the best time. Is the best time of your day in the mornings or evenings? Our God desires our best! God gave His Son for us (Jn. 3:16)! Therefore, we need to give Him our best. I’m not saying that your devotion needs to be an hour a day. I’d recommend quality over quantity. If your time with the Lord is thirty minutes, fifteen minutes, or five minutes, my appeal is for it to be your best time. May you and I never be satisfied to give God our leftovers!
- Overcome the enemy’s temptations. Does the enemy want you and me to spend time with our heavenly Father? He loves to keep us busy, anxious, and immature. You’ll be tempted to hit the snooze button in the mornings; you’ll be tempted to doubt the benefits of personal devotions; and you’ll be tempted to break the routine of giving the Lord your best time. As you and I face temptations, look for God’s way out. In 1 Cor. 10:13, Paul said, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” As the enemy seeks to weaken our walk with the Lord, always remember that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4).
- Talk with the Father. As you and I come before the Lord, it’s wise to ask Him to calm our spirits, open our eyes, and remove any distractions. In Ps. 119:18, the Psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” There’s a spiritual benefit to being still before the Lord (Ps. 46:10). Prayer is a subject that’s easy to talk about and not so easy to practice. The Lord delights to hear the voices of His children.
- Practice a realistic pace. I’m afraid that we make personal devotions too hard at times. The ultimate goal isn’t to get through the Bible in a specific time period. The primary goal is for the Bible to get through us! You may read a chapter or two of the Bible each day. The challenge is to be flexible because life happens. It’s important to be consistent, not legalistic. Your pace will change as the Lord grows your heart and spirit.
- Share what God is saying. Our walk with God is personal, not private. God created us for community. He called us to make disciples (Mt. 28:19). Discipleship is about biblical truths, personal transformation, intentional relationships, and spiritual investments. Other people need to hear what God is teaching you. As you grow and mature in the Lord, find ways to help other people develop and mature, too.
It’s the Lord’s desire to grow and mature us! Let us look forward every day to spending quality time with our heavenly Father!
Being Still Before Him,