How Is Your Devotional Life?
My family has an old vehicle, a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan, that seldom gets used. The other day my wife Cynthia decided to use it for an errand, but it would not start. My son James and I attempted to jump start the engine, but that failed. So I took the battery to the auto supply shop where I had bought it. Their diagnosis? The battery was still good, could be recharged, but was not working because of lack of use.
For many people, including me, maintaining a meaningful devotional life can be challenging. We have the right equipment, hearts and minds made to be in relationship with God, but our devotional life stops working because of lack of use.
One of the impressive things Jesus models for us is his vigorous devotional life. For Jesus time alone with his Father was a priority, even as (especially as!) the demands on his time grew. “The news about Jesus spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16 – NIV, emphasis added).
I don’t think it is helpful to scold people into seeking Jesus devotionally. When we fall into arid seasons in our spiritual life, we feel bad enough as it is. More guilt tends to shut us down still more. Nevertheless, we all need someone to hold us accountable. Usually a firm yet gentle approach is most effective.
I have the privilege of being part of a team that interviews pastors as they seek admission into ECO – A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Recently I asked one of these pastors to describe his spiritual life, the spiritual practices that keep his relationship with God vital. Not accustomed to this approach from a denominational official, he replied that he was nearly in tears just to be asked that question. Accountability is a good thing (and it turns out that his spiritual life is robust indeed).
So I’m asking: how is your devotional life? Is your connection to God suffering because of lack of use? The good news is that your spiritual life can be recharged, and you can start today. Let go of the past. “This is the day the Lord has made” (Psalm 118:24). This is the day that matters, the day for new beginnings. Start with small steps. Use a good devotional book that sets Scripture before you, gives you something to think about, and invites you to pray.
An old saying tells us to “go often to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.” Go often to Jesus, who calls us friend (John 15:15). You will be glad you did.
David Lenz, Lead Pastor