Psalm 63:5 My soul will feast and be satisfied, and I will sing glad songs of praise to you. (GNB)
Today I want to encourage you! Too many times, a “guilt trip” is laid on us and we make some commitments to change that quickly fail. Don’t think of today’s devotional as “if you don’t pick up that heavy load, you’re gonna be punished”. Think of them as “there’s a load of gold waiting for you. It’s heavy and will be hard to pick up, but if you choose to do it, you will be rich beyond measure!”. An encouragement leading to blessing, not a guilt trip!
I often challenge individuals, and groups concerning their private devotions (prayer and Bible study). It is rare that the immediate facial expressions don’t reveal the opinion that “devotions” and Bible study are boring, painful duties; to be endured because “God says you have to do it”.
How tragic. For the person who makes the choice to sacrifice time each day to spend with God, there is inexpressible joy waiting. Over time, as your intimacy with God grows, your biggest “frustration” will be your insatiable desire to INCREASE your time with Him! Now that’s a “frustration” we can all use more of!
Sometimes we think that consistent devotion and real time with God in private is only for the Pastor, or the “super Christians”. My Brethren, this should not be! Anticipation and excitement for time with God should be TYPICAL of Christians, not extraordinary!
I’m not a “super Christian”. I’m just a normal, average guy who CHOOSES to spend time with God. Notice I said “choose” not “feel”. Hopefully we get to a point where we genuinely feel like it, but it always begins with a choice.
Feelings always follow choice.
Like a caboose being pulled by a train engine, feelings are always manifestations of our choices. Your CHOICE (train engine) may turn you in a new direction, and it might be a while before your feelings (the caboose) round the bend. But it WILL happen.
Through God’s power, you can choose to make your time alone with God your highest priority. You can CHOOSE now to do it, even if you honestly FEEL like you’d rather be doing other things. You can CHOOSE to make your private time with God more important than your work, entertainment, ministry and leisure time. These other things will NOT suffer because they are lower priority. All other areas in your life will be blessed by your choice to put God first.
Okay, let’s be honest. Many of you at this point are thinking “yeah, whatever”. You have come to think and believe that your time with God is just another task, duty or “command” that you have to get done every day so you can be a “good Christian”. Or maybe you’ve failed so many times, you just don’t realistically think it is possible. You wish could get excited about it, but you just can’t anymore. Maybe you even experience guilt for having this feeling but that’s honestly the point you’re at right now. God understands.
Beloved, let me challenge you to give God the chance to fill your life with blessing. Open wide your heart and time… see if the Lord will not fill it beyond measure. There will come a time when God will so incredibly bless your choice to get to know Him, that you will laugh at the silly thought your private devotions to God used to be a “duty” and a hardship!
Psalm 81:10 I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (NKJV; God was speaking directly to the Israelites here, but the promise to fill (bless) you and I is no less applicable; Luke 6.38)
“Open your mouth wide…” Opening your mouth (in other words, “making yourself available to God in expectation that He will use you”) requires action, you have to be DOER, not just hearer. You will never know this blessing until you CHOOSE to act accordingly. Start with one hour. Get alone with God. Pray to Him. Spill your heart out to Him. Read His Precious Word and get to know Him. Then be amazed when very soon you will be longing for 2 hours with Him!
Father in Heaven, help us to know the joy of spending time with You. We pray for the strength to make the choice to arrange a time with you every single day. We ask that you will quickly allow our feelings to follow our choices. Amen.
Contemplation: Is prayer and Bible study hard for you? Is it boring? Is it a task you HAVE to perform in order to be “good” Christian? Do you wish you could have a FEELING of excitement about prayer and Bible study?
Application: God rewards commitment and discipline. It is a guarantee that the more time you spend in God’s presence, the more you will begin to “feel” like doing it. Eventually, you will have excitement, expectation and anticipation about your time with God. It all begins with a choice.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?