Recently, while I was out with a group of friends we were talking about where we could improve in our walk with Christ. What kept being repeated around the circle was fitting in morning devotions either as an individual or as a family.
As everyone was sharing about their busy schedules and various reasons why they didn’t have time to fit in devotions; my mind was busy pondering the word and the act of devotions.
Why do we do devotions?
Does God require us to do devotions?
Am I a failure as a Christian if I do not do daily devotions?
Where does the word devotion come from?
Why are devotions something that we feel we need to do?
Why do we feel guilty if we do not do them?
Have you ever thought any of those questions? I know that I have asked myself these questions and I need to search out the answers.
So let’s figure this out together. Let’s get to the root of the word: Devotion.
The word devotion originated in the 13th Century as a term to describe loyalty to God. The secular translation came in the 16th Century as it was translated to French and Italian.
Today’s definition of the word devotion means to have profound dedication. The two main definitions that I found for devotion refer to the devotion between a husband and wife or a religious observance.
I am intrigued by the definition- Profound dedication- let’s take a look at that.
If you are profoundly dedicated to something then you will make time, space and money available to whatever it is. For example, if I was dedicated to becoming an Olympic figure skater than I would do everything possible to make that a reality. I would choose to spend hours training and practising, invest a lot of money for equipment, coaching, etc. and give up relationships and other opportunities to make my dedication to becoming an Olympic figure skater a priority. Are you seeing what being dedicated looks like?
The word profound really stood out to me. The word profound means- going far beneath what is superficial, external, or obvious and the word dedication means: being wholly committed to. Do you see where this is going? Devotion is going beyond what we know and can see and being wholly committed. What are you wholly committed to? That question can be answered differently by everyone. For myself, I am wholly committed to my loving Father and my growing relationship with Him. I am willing to go beyond all that I can see and know and search to know more, grow more and become more.
“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct and devotion to God.” Titus 2:12 (NLT)
Let’s go back and look over the questions at the beginning.
Why do you do devotions? My answer would be because I am dedicated to developing and growing my relationship with Christ. What is your answer?
Does God require us to do devotions? Are we failures as Christians if we do not do daily devotions? I believe the answer to those questions is: no. Our Father would love to spend time with us; He is waiting and desiring to spend time with us. It is up to us to make the time. Time spent in prayer and the study of God’s word is never wasted. The more you do it; the more you want to do it. When we do not make the time the feelings of guilt move in because there is something deep down inside of us that needs and desires that time.
The time that you choose to dedicate in devotion and worship to God is an investment into yourself. In order to fully understand who you have been created to be, you need to spend time with the One who created you.
Do you think God is pleased if you choose to do devotions because you feel you have to, out of some Christian obligation? How would you feel if someone came to hang out with you just because they felt like they had to? It probably wouldn’t be that great; it has the possibility to change and become a good time but it could also be a short, awkward visit. Now think about having someone over who is excited to be there and hang out with you. The time would pass so quickly and you wouldn’t want it to end.
If you choose to worship with this type of dedication and devotion, do you think that it will make your life easier? The path with God is not always easy, there will be ups and downs, twists and turns but you will never be alone.
The next time you sit down to do devotions, take a moment to examine your devotion. Are you profoundly dedicated to serve the One who created you?
Carolyn's experience as a missionary, pastor's wife, national award winning author & speaker all unite to encourage, empower and equip women of all ages to delve into scripture to discover it's truth in our lives today.
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