Monthly Archives: December 2016

Away with Personal Devotions! part 2

Remember, I would never discourage anyone from reading their bible. I intend only to encourage Christians to read the Bible more and more faithfully.

Let me also clear up one possible misunderstanding: the title of these posts is “away with personal devotions!” I should clarify: I want to do away with personal devotions as most Christians I know conceive of it. I want to do away with the notion that spiritual maturity has a direct correlation with the amount of time one spends with a bible and notebook each morning. I want to do away with the notion that consistency in “personal quiet times” is a tell-tale sign of spiritual health. I want Christians to stop asking “how is your devotional life?” as a spiritual diagnostic question. I want the stay-at-home mom who never has time for a traditional “quiet time” to stop feeling guilty about that!

Why? I’m glad you asked.

My first answer is it is never commanded. The Bible never commands personal quiet times or personal devotions or whatever you want to call it. You might think, “what about Psalm 1: blessed is the man…his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on His Law he meditates day and night?”

I say “amen!” But notice two things about what Psalm 1 says:

  1. You’re blessed if you meditate- it does not merely say read or spend time with the Lord. It says meditate. Pore over His Word. That can come in many different forms, not merely in a personal quiet time. That could come in the form of personal, alone time in the Word, OR  thinking about the sermon text, OR thinking about a verse your friend shared with you yesterday, OR listening to sermons online, OR having family worship day and night. The possibilities are endless. But the question is “have you meditated on God’s word today?”
  2. You must meditate on the Law- It also technically says “his delight is in the Law.” That could be more, but it is not less than the 10 Commandments. We should meditate on God’s Law, how high His standard is, how we break it over and over, and let that drive us constantly back to the gospel. Meditate. God’s Law. Day and night, meaning all the time. If you want to know how someone is doing spiritually, ask them, “have you thought deeply about how you have broken God’s commands today?” Then preach the gospel to believer and unbeliever alike.

Have you meditated on the Law today?

Away with Personal Devotions! part 1

Let me be clear on one thing: I would never discourage anyone from reading their bible. I would only encourage people to read it more and more faithfully.

Let me define “personal devotions”- an individual worship time, usually involving reading the bible and prayer.

Some people call it a “quiet time” or “time with the Lord.” I grew up being encouraged to have daily “quiet times” and it often involves a journal. For me today, it always involves a cup of coffee.

I would never discourage anyone from reading their bible. I would only encourage people to read it more and more faithfully.

The one thing I would discourage today: let us stop making Christians feel like “personal devotions”– whether you had one today and how consistent you are in having them– are one of the key measures for Christian maturity.

Three reasons:

  1. It is never commanded
  2. Christians need to be taught the Bible
  3. The Christian life is never meant to be mainly “personal”

I will tackle these in subsequent posts. Related to number 2, please consider coming to this event in January