Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Devotions Are Boring

For a long time I have struggled with the idea of having a "quiet time" or "devotions" at the start and end of each day. Should I do a daily Bible study? Go through a devotional book? Get on a Bible reading plan to read the entire Bible in a year? A Psalm a day? A Proverb a day? Lately I have been rewarded after taking a very simplistic principle and applying it to my time alone with God. The principle is this: Study to know more, love more, and act more. It may seem too simple or too bumper sticker, but there is a logical progression in the principle. Know more comes first because until you know more things about God and His word you will not love Him or people more than you do now. Love more comes second because after knowing more you will love God and people more which will fuel acting and serving God and others. Act more comes last because it is the logical result of loving God and others more. While there is a progression here, you should not take "know more" and only focus on it, reasoning that once you know enough you can start to love God and others more. They are all three connected. Knowing more is pointless unless it drives you to love more, and loving more is meaningless if it doesn't push you to serve God and others. So if you start to study and find that after a while you are not loving more, then you are not knowing more, you are simply reading things and they aren't landing on your heart. This is why fluffy devotional books tend to collect more dust than dog ears, because it does not fill you with knowledge that leads to love which leads to service. C.S. Lewis assisted me in this principle:

"I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand."

This gets to the root of what I am attempting to say, but from a different perspective. Lewis is basically saying that deeper issues like theology and doctrine, rather than shallow inspirational fluff, cause you to think, study and know truth about God. In other words, if you read about God's omniscience it will land deeper in your life and heart due to the very depth of the topic demanding your attention and thought. This will help stir embers of love and zeal instead of the flash burn from an inspiration-a-day calendar that says "God knows more than you, so trust Him". Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, or practices with reference to your devotional time.

No comments: