My best friend woke me up this morning. No, I’m not referring to my husband, he’s still sleeping, or a pet. I have found that in setting a devotion wake-up time goal i have never had to set an alarm. I just mysteriously wake-up 15 minutes earlier than my goal. That put me right out on the couch after my lovely morning bathroom trip and gathering my Bible at precisely 6:30a.
Good morning Jesus.
How close does He feel today?
You know, I have found in memorizing Scripture and trying to live it out that when Jesus feels close it is not a burden. It is a privilege. When Jesus feels like a best friend, I want to read His letters to me. I want to read His advice and guidance to my heart. And when He feels far away, I find other things to replace the time.
Oddly enough I don’t believe our faith should be a feeling. I believe we need to train our selves and whip ourselves into shape. We can never do all our training ourselves, we need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s changing in our hearts. But I believe many of the “seasons” in Christianity are really disguised Apathy emerging in our lives. O yes, I have been through dry seasons where it feels like my prayers are hitting the ceiling, but I have also found that while it is a challenge sometimes to think beyond ourselves (ahem, it’s a challenge all the time in my selfish heart), I must push myself.
No change will just happen on it’s own. I don’t believe this is because God cannot just make a change happen. Beyond salvation, in which I found myself all of a sudden “getting it”, all other change has happened gradually. As I have asked for more of Jesus and less of me, I have slowly gotten just that. But I must keep asking.
Some days I don’t ask so well. Some days I want more of myself. And it’s in those days that I must push myself.
A while back I happily accepted my apathy toward devotions. “Everyone struggles with them,” I told myself. “This has been something I have always struggled with: the consistency of a devotion time,” my own enabling continued. And where did that get me? Continuing to struggle to “find time” for a devotion.
Matt came home from a youth conference with a challenging phrase: “Devotions are a promise. Every day you feel like breaking your devotion time, just go ahead and tell your teenager they can break their purity promise that day. Afterall, you’re breaking your promise that day too.”
I didn’t like that. Purity really matters to me. I can’t imagine throwing it all in the can for one day of fleeting passion after waiting for 22 years to save sex for marriage. It forced me to think in real terms.
No, that didn’t instantly fix my struggles with devotion. Every day I have the battle, many times a day, flesh verses Spirit. But I must show up to the battle!
My routine started like this: grumbling at the early time, apologizing to God, reading the Word, writing some prayers in my journal, and repeating that process for a week of exhausted morning devotion. We all must start somewhere. Then i started going to bed a little earlier. The grumbling cut back and I started apologizing for sins other than my grumbling. =) And sooner than I thought a month or so had passed and it was just normal to wake up early – even on a Sunday, and start my day off in the Word. There were days it sucked – I was in a bad mood. I hadn’t slept well. Vacation came. I failed. But I just kept thinking about telling Rachael she didn’t have to guard her purity that day. Now people, I am aware that she is 2, but purity is a heart-training that begins with modesty, initially for the sake of “because Mom says privacy is important”, and expands into a lifestyle of waiting for what God has on the horizon for you. I just kept imagining telling Rachael in her teenage years to “go have fun” and “forget about it for today” afterall, “you’ll get another chance tomorrow.” See how different devotions look in another point of view?
I challenge you to lay it all on the line. You’ll mess up – I did. But I challenge you to force the priority and stop accepting your own excuses. You will be surprised what a heart for Jesus emerges from diving into the deep. You’ll be surprised at the clarity that emerges in refocusing on His Truth daily.
… in Christ Alone.