Why are Christians in America dependent on someone else teaching them God’s Word? Too many Christians have taken the passive approach to Christianity and expect the professionals, the paid church staff, to teach God’s word so they can learn. The problem is as Paul wrote, “always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:7) A Christian will not grow by merely listening to the teaching of God’s Word. You grow spiritually past the spiritual level of childhood only by regular self-feeding of God’s Word.
Two previous articles addressed devotions related to the spiritual infant and the spiritual child. “What does it mean to have devotions?” was written for spiritual infants and “How do you have devotions?” was written for the spiritual child. Understanding the progression through these stages is important before proceeding with the following. Devotions are integral to growing closer to God and stronger in the faith in order to overcome the devil’s distractions and ploys to divert a spiritual young adult’s attention.
The “why” is stated in the question above, because this is directed at the young adult. Spiritual infants are learning what devotions are. Spiritual children are learning the “how” of devotions. By the time a person is a spiritual young adult, he is often like physical adolescents, who want to do things on their own rather than learn from those who have gone before. They ask, “Why do I have to do this? I can do things on my own.” They then break their weld with Jesus and start acting independently from God. What is that called? Independence from God is called “sin.” Here are seven principles on “why” to have devotions.
First, great spiritual leaders have gone before as examples. Do not try to reinvent the wheel. It seems people like to be original about everything, including devotions. There are already great spiritual giants of the faith. For example, learn to begin your day, like David, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” (Ps. 5:3 NKJ) And yet, do not be afraid to meet with God in the evening or night time watches, “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.” (Ps. 63:6 NKJ) You might rise at midnight, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgments.” (Ps. 119:62 NKJ) While, I would encourage you to begin with morning devotions and get a good night sleep, God may lead some to be staunchly devoted at midnight, morning, or through the night watches,
147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word. 148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” (Ps. 119:147-148 NKJ)
On the other hand, you may have devotions several times as day, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Dan. 6:10 NKJ)
Secondly, the Word will give you spiritual nourishment. There are great tools you can use for devotions, but never leave out God’s Word. Moses wrote, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut. 8:3; cf. Matt. 4:4 NKJ) It is, after all, God’s Word that nourishes your soul, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer. 15:16 NKJ) And it is not words of men, but of GOD, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1Thes. 2:13 NKJ) Consume the Word of God, not the world of man.
Thirdly, devotions give you a laser focus to worship God. David wrote, “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust… I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Ps. 16: 1; 34:1 NKJ) David also wrote,
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. (Ps. 63:1-4 NKJ)
The sons of Korah wrote, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain.” (Ps. 48:1 NKJ)
Devotions are a great way to develop a pure and undefiled laser focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fourthly, devotions are obedience to the Lord. The Lord Jesus established the importance of pressing forward to pursue heaven. He said, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1 NKJ) Devotions are a great way to develop a biblical understanding of the peace of God. Paul wrote,
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7 NKJ)
And Paul said to not give up, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” (Col. 4:2 NKJ)
Fifthly, devotions help to prepare for spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is not child’s play. That is why John made an issue that it is the young adult who overcomes the evil one (1 John 2:12-14), not the child. Devotions are essential to put on the armor of God,
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age1, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– (Eph. 6:10-18 NKJ)
A Christian ought not to leave home without preparation with his spiritual armor.
Sixthly, devotions are the best way to examine yourself. The spiritual child was directed to learn how to examine himself. The spiritual young adult needs to know how to take care of this himself. How does he do it? Using God’s word, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12 NKJ) Why does he need to examine himself? He needs to examine himself, because he wants to please the Lord and avoid the Father’s discipline,
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. (Heb. 12:5-6 NKJ)
Seventhly, devotions prepare you to help others. Life is not about you. Life is about loving the Lord and loving others. Therefore it is essential to understand Jesus’ words and Paul’s words. Jesus said,
Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:1-5 NKJ)
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load. (Gal. 6:1-5 NKJ)
Devotions teach you how to examine yourself, so that you can help others to remove their specks. You have to be spiritual, that is filled with the Spirit, in order to come alongside another person and help them in their sins. It is the role of the spiritual young adult to start coming along side a brother who has sinned to help him keep his walk close to the Lord. Devotions are key ingredients in remaining welded to Jesus and be an instrument in His hands.
Why should a spiritual young adult have devotions? Devotions are all about spending time with Jesus. They are essential in pressing forward to become a spiritual parent. The spiritual young adult needs to have consistent devotions so that young Christians will see a good model of someone who enjoys spending time with the Lord, which comes through dependency on the Holy Spirit while in the Word.