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Dear Christian, Your "Daily Devotions" Could Be Killing You

We Christians don't always know how to "relate" to God.

There. I said it.

We are literally too "by the book." We hit the alarm in the morning and either blow through a daily devotional (church-speak for inspirational reading with a verse of scripture attached), or else flip through the read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year schedule: and if it happens to fall on Leviticus, we might skim those nasty parts about body fluids and skin rashes. Not exactly the affirmations needed to get us through the day.

Then we go our merry way and, nine hours later can't, for the life of us, remember what we read that morning. Or why we can't seem to ever change.

Meanwhile, God waits.

And waits.

And keeps waiting to get a word in edgewise. A word in between all those words we read on all those pages we cram into our already cluttered minds. Minds cluttered with worship music, sermon podcasts, and Bible study books. Oh, I love my yearly Bible reading schedule*, Jesus-music and good sermons. (I've even been getting a lot out of Leviticus!) But sometimes they get in the way of hearing what God would like to say to me that day.

Like today, for instance. I woke up still thinking about how someone acted rudely toward me yesterday (unbelievably rude). I got my usual coffee and sat in my usual cushy chair and looked out the usual window at the bare trees outside and did not open to the place in my Bible I usually do, the four chapters I am supposed to read according to the calendar.

No, instead, I opened to Lamentations three, read a little, and then listened.

And God gently instructed me to walk this alone, tell no one about it, keep my mouth shut and be "full of reproach." It's a test, He said. To show me how far I've grown as a result of this unbelievably rude person.

Still waiting-not-reading, I reflected. I have grown. This time it didn't derail me, like it did the last time. This time I held myself together.

Then God took my hand and led me to I Corinthians 13, and I savored some of that for a while.

Love does not behave rudely. (If only the person knew how it made me feel.)

Love is not easily provoked.

And there it was—my problem, spelled out in plain English: I need more of God's love. I am too easily provoked, way too bothered by this broken person's lack of grace.

I shut the Book. It had spoken loud and clear. Any more reading would have drowned out the message.

Then I sat and waited.

And waited.

And waited until the truth settled deep into the soil.

I'm hoping to see fruit soon. Don't over-water, over-fertilize. Shut the book. The good Book. Turn off the noise. The good noise. Because too much of any good thing is a deadly thing.

And listen. Savor. Ruminate. Repeat.

"Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you."—

Isaiah 30:18

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he [b]meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season...." Psalm 1:2-3

What do you think? Do you "have devotions?" What are they like? I'd love to know your thoughts.

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Sarah Bogdan
Sarah Bogdan
Mar 01, 2022

Excellent point. Can be tricky knowing where to turn to if you don’t know the nuances within the Bible well, but I suppose that‘s the point of reading it.

Mar 01, 2022
Replying to

Thanks for your comment! The Bible is our spiritual food, so we approach it the way we do opening the fridge. The more familiar with it we become, the quicker we know what to "pull out to eat."

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