When I think of my own journey, I could not imagine the state of my spiritual health without having spent daily devotional time with the Lord. I’m not talking just the Sunday morning special, but I mean really getting into the consistency of devoting time to just Him & I; One on one.
What Do You Expect?
There is something special that is birthed out of your own personal study of the Word; something fresh that radiates from your own prayer time spent seeking the heart & will of the Father. What is it? It’s intimacy.
Your relationship with God the Father doesn’t start & end on a Sunday morning between the hours of 11:00am and 12:30pm. Imagine if you only committed that much time to your husband or wife every week – what kind of a relationship would that be?
A lot of us talk about discerning the will of God and trying to figure out what He wants for our lives, but how many of us are truly digging out those trenches in our own sacrificial study of the Word?
Knowing the Word is our first key to knowing the will of the Father. He wrote all these things for our instruction, correction, and edification (2 Timothy 3:16-17), so why would we not want to study something that actually improves our own lives? The Word gives life, but we must be willing to reach out and take that life for ourselves.
My devotional time, my study of the Word, has spawned some of the most inspirational revelations of who God is in my life. From those times have come greater understanding of who He is, how He relates to me, and what kinds of things He expects of me. Without that kind of personal study, without setting aside “my own time” (which God gave to me), I would be absolutely clueless about what kind of life the Lord expects me to lead. I’d think Sunday was all He expected, and I just get to live whatever kind of life I want to from Monday through Saturday as long as I showed up on Sunday morning. What a shock that would be to show up at the gates of heaven only to find out what Christ had actually expected of me.
See, it’s not about your attendance. It’s about your attention.
Staying in Sync
In 1 Samuel 15, Saul was the king of Israel. He was God’s anointed man for the job; the one to bring & enact justice and God’s will for the land & people of Israel. Saul was given specific instruction on how to carry out an order from God. He was told to leave no survivors from the enemy camp and take no spoils with him. Yet, what he did instead was route his own path and disobeyed what God’s command was.
As he returns to the prophet Samuel, Samuel declares to him,
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22, ESV).
It wasn’t about Saul’s offering of the animals that he spared that would please God, it was his obedience to His word that would please God. Yet, Saul mapped his own route, and we later find that this grievous sin against God’s word would cause him to lose his kingship over Israel.
Many of us may not be in positions of kingship over a nation, but many of us are in roles of leadership. Some over families, some over businesses, some over ministries, and some simply over ourselves. How much greater can we be as leaders if we are constantly tuning in to what God has already written down for our instruction? How many painful errors, mistakes, and losses could we avoid if we ensured that we were in sync with the will of the Lord every day?
Enter, our devotional time. Not only is it an inspirational searching of the heart & will of God, but it also keeps us on track. It ensures that we are consistently proceeding towards God instead of retreating away from God. And something happens when we draw near to God: He also draws near to us (James 4:8).
Finally, our personal study of the Word also develops in us an understanding of our role in this world. Without that study, without understanding the Word, we are prone to lose sight of what we are even here for! It’s easy to lose track of where you’re going when you stop looking at the GPS.
The Bible says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105). The Word of God is our instruction, but it is also our direction.
What kind of journey would you be on if you started driving from Illinois to Texas, but decided to turn your GPS off after leaving your driveway? You’d be feeling pretty dang lost, I imagine. I know I would be – I still feel lost turning my GPS off anywhere in Minneapolis!
The Word is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. If it didn’t catch for you with the GPS, then imagine trying to wander through your house at midnight without any lights on. It’s hard enough getting up with the lamp next to my bed, but to wander through the corridors of your Lego-laden hallways in the pitch black is a recipe for disaster.
Imagine life like that for a moment. No GPS, no lights on. That’s the way we lead ourselves without staying connected to the life-giving power of God’s Word. Not only are we lost, but we forget where we’re going entirely.
Closing the Gap
I love the Word. I love reading it, I love studying it, I love talking about it, and I love the power of life that it brings to us through the heart of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yet, even so, not all of us are excited to get up and study the Bible in Greek, are we? Maybe we should be… Anyway, not the point.
Sometimes all we are looking for is a little structure to get us going. Sometimes all we need is a little reminder from God’s Word that He is still there, working in our situations and healing our hearts through His grace. Maybe that’s all you’re looking for today.
Or maybe you’re looking to rediscover your purpose because you’ve dropped the GPS or stopped turning your lamp on. Sometimes we can use a little extra “oomph” to get us jumpstarted; maybe a little guided path to get those legs working again without getting back into the rough terrain just yet.
If you’re feeling a little lost today or maybe feeling a little hopeless in your workplace, this might be just the right time to take one guided step towards God’s greater purpose in your life.
Erik Cooper’s new five-day devotional, “More Than a Job”, can be found here. If you’re looking to take that first step back towards the heart of God or take that first step into the waters of finding your story in God’s greater story, this is the place to start.
Pull up a seat and learn to find your everyday work in the context of God’s Great Story.