Can I make a confession? Digging into God's Word on a daily basis is hard for me. I don't typically wake up in the morning with a spring in my step, ready to dig into the Bible.
I'm not saying I don't want to read my Bible. I'm just saying that it's hard.
Even though I love God, I love His Word, I love learning, and I love growing in my faith, I still struggle to make it a priority day in and day out.
But here's what matters most: I don't let that stop me.
I don't have the perfect personal devotional life, and I don't think I ever will. But I want to do my best. I want to be faithful. I want to have an awesome relationship with God.
I bet you are trying your best, too. My hope is that today's blog post will encourage you in your personal devotional journey. I want you to know that there isn't a perfect step-by-step system that we have to follow. Depending on our personalities, schedules, and preferences, each one of our personal devotional times might look just a little bit different.
What's the Point?
I love the advice Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth gives in her amazing book A Place of Quiet Rest:
Whatever approach you take to reading the Bible, don't let yourself become a slave to the method. Don't get so caught up in the mechanics that you miss the point.
So what is the point of our personal devotional time? Deuteronomy 6:5 gives us a great answer: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
We read our Bibles because we love God and we want to learn how to love Him more. When we learn to love Him, we will know how to live for Him. When our driving purpose in life is rooted in a deep and sincere love for God, everything else will flow from a Christ-centered motivation.
Purpose Over Process.
My prayer is that we would focus more on the purpose of our devotions than on the process. When we lose sight of the goal (building a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus), we forget why we are having devotions in the first place and we start just going through the motions.
Once I realized that my personal devotions don't have to fit inside a perfect box, I felt so free to get to know God and to build a relationship with Him. Instead of trying to meet some unspoken expectation to have this "perfect" devotional time, I just started doing things that worked well for me.
Here are a few of them. Feel free to use some of my ideas or come up with your own.
- Focus on reading through one book of the Bible at a time.
- Underline passages that stand out.
- Always have a journal by your side during your devotional time.
- Journal prayers, thoughts, and meaningful verses.
- Listen to worship music, and write down meaningful phrases as you listen.
As you consider your own approach to reading God's Word, I want to highly encourage you to grab a copy of Nancy's book A Place of Quiet Rest. It has been life-changing for me in my understanding of a devotional time. Nancy gives us a peek inside the lives of wise women who have walked the walk and who have been faithful to God for years on end. These are women who truly love God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.
They get the purpose of reading God's Word, and it shows in their process.
Having the opportunity to peek into their personal devotional time and hear what works for others and what doesn't is a priceless opportunity. Seriously. Read the book if you can get your hands on it.
Here are some questions I'd love to hear your answers to:
- What do you enjoy doing for a personal devotion time?
- What works well?
- What doesn't work well?
Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird are sisters, lifelong friends, founders of GirlDefined Ministries, and authors of Girl Defined: God's Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity. Their focus and passion is to help modern girls understand and live out God's timeless truth for womanhood. In a day and age when girls and women receive so many conflicting messages about their value, purpose, and identity, they desperately need to know that the only one who can define them is the One who created them.
You can find them at https://www.girldefined.com/.