Posted by: JennyRain | January 30, 2008

Devotional Time or Devotional Life?

As followers of Christ, we often talk about “having a devotional time” or “doing my quiet time” or just “doing time” in the morning or evenings. I know I am guilty of this Christian-ease. This is time that is to be set apart for Christ. To get in tune with Him, listen for His voice, respond to how He is working in our lives… We often seek this time to get our day started right, soak ourselves with His presence, seek out His directives in His word. Then at the end of our twenty to thirty minutes, we pack up our journals, our prayers, and our bibles and catapult ourselves into the day, completely forgetting who God is, and who we are in relationship to Him.
 
I have often been guilty of looking forward to my morning coffee as much as my morning devotional time. I know this because if God says, “this morning, instead of coffee, drink tea” I throw a fit. But I do not necessarily have that same reaction if I gloss over my bible reading and give half the effort I could with connecting with God.
 
What is wrong with our picture of devotion?
 

Several years ago, I was on mission with a team in Guatemala. I was quite new to this whole Christian thing so I still asked a lot of dumb questions (as if that has changed!?) Our in-country liaison, Jason, became the target of many of my questions.

 

Jason was a person who had given up privilege in America to pursue missions in a third world country. He regularly came in contact with children who did not have enough food to eat, let alone shoes for their feet. Clothing becomes rather secondary when you are starving. I remember him telling us how his stomach would tighten for these children who were hungry and how many a night he lay awake unable to sleep because of what he had seen. Jason was getting his hands dirty for the gospel.
 
One day I approached Jason and asked, “So ah, Jason, Like, you seem so busy all the time. When do you have time to do your devotional time?” An innocent enough question, right? I really wanted to know how Jason was setting apart time to be with God and read the bible. I felt his devotional time was an important marker of his faith. As long as I live, I will never forget the look Jason gave me. Without one word, his look communicated the following…
 

Silly girl, my entire LIFE is being lived in devotion to Christ… what do you mean, when do I “do” my devotional time?

 
It was not a look that was rude, condescending, or belittling. It was a look that shared a powerful Truth about Jason’s relationship with God that I had completely overlooked. It was a look that stopped me in my tracks and reframed what our walk with Christ was supposed to be all about.
 

This week, one of my friends Kim, challenged me to remember and apply this truth simply as I watched her in her daily life. (Thank you friend!)

All around me I see people who are doing the work of God. People who are taking the time to heal others with words, with actions, with love. People who are serving the felt needs of their community with tangible touches of grace. Couples who do not have the time to regularly read God’s word, but who are praying throughout the day for a touch of God’s presence so they can live it out in their relationships. I see mothers who are challenging themselves to remain open so they can be transformed through God’s ever inviting Grace, and fathers who are picking up the pieces of a broken past and surrendering them to God, believing that He has a future that is better and brighter than anything they could ever hope or imagine.

Is connecting with God regularly important? Absolutely. For me, it is a lifeline. But my interaction with Jason taught me something that is even more important than connecting with God. It is allowing ourselves to be so transformed through that connection that we can be change-agents in the world around us.
 
Information without application is stagnation. Devotional time without a corresponding devotional life is powerless.

I long to see devotion as Brother Lawrence did as he practiced the presence of God…
 
 

The most holy practice, the nearest to daily life, and the most essential for the spiritual life, is the practice of the presence of God, that is to find joy in his divine company and to make it a habit of life, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with Him at all times, every moment, without rule or restriction, above all at times of temptation, distress, dryness, and revulsion, and even of faithlessness and sin. (p 68)

 All writings copyrighted by author 1.30.08 (C)

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Responses

  1. Amazing, girl this is truth. Preach! I needed to go back to that time today. Thank you for sharing your heart.


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