Devotion to Devotions?

Why are some Christians so set on having what they call “devotions” every day? I suppose I’d better step back and define “devotions.” Well, I’m not sure how to define it. Most people think if you read from some little booklet, you’ve had devotions.

Usually such booklets are laid out according to the days of the month or week. What if I don’t want to read somebody else’s predigested thoughts on X day of the month? What if I don’t want to do it this morning? Besides, what about getting into the Bible itself?

That brings up a can of worms, doesn’t it? Where do you go? Isn’t the Bible a minefield? I suggest having a good study Bible for notes that will help put things in context. For example, if you know Jesus is speaking to Jews in the Gospels, maybe not everything He says is for those of us who aren’t Jews. Maybe He’s addressing a very specific situation at a specific time. Sure, we can glean principles, but let’s not read something into the Scriptures that isn’t there.

Yes, I know, there are those who say there are verses in the Psalms about seeking the Lord early in the morning, etc. Actually, I find early morning to be a good time for quiet reflections and prayers. But I’d rather study the Bible, not just some little booklet, when my mind is a little clearer. That’s usually later in the day. But to each his own on this one.

All I’m trying to say here is two things. First. You won’t slide into hell if you don’t read a devotional booklet or even your Bible every day. Granted, I should read and study mine more.

And that brings up the second point. Study the Bible. Read—gasp—books and commentaries. Or at least go through study notes in a good study Bible. Don’t assume you’ve got your dose of godliness for the day just because you’ve read somebody else’s thoughts, including mine here.

I’m not against devotions, if you want to call them that. Bible study is my preference, and it should take more than five minutes while you’re snarfing down your toast, half way out the door in the morning.

All religions encourage meditation and a certain amount of solitude. It’s cliché, but it’s true that prayer is when we talk to God, and Bible study is when He talks to us.

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