Devotions are the trust step where the rubber of the tires of our faith meets the road of life. All this is the main point of why we study the Bible-to do something with it. Of course, we all do something with it. Either we ignore it or we are transformed by it. We can master, even be transformed by the Word; but if nothing comes from it, it is meaningless and nearly worthless. This is one of the main points of the book of James. Our faith must have a response to it. Yes, we may be saved; but what good is that if we do nothing with it?
Insights to help you on your Devotional Journey
Invite God into your study as your teacher. Ask Him to free your mind from distractions and help you concentrate. You are entering a learning partnership with Christ!
· This will give you greater personal conviction! (Philippians 3:10)
· Your life will change! (John 1:1-3)
· Your attitudes will change! (1 Cor. 5:10)
· You will be pointed in the right direction! (Isaiah 40:31)
· The glory of God will be pointed out to you! (Jeremiah 1:6f)
· The Bible will break through your self-will and deceptions, including sin, temptations, and rationalizations, because the Bible is the voice of God! (2 Cor. 11:1f)
· Jesus' temptation involved the satisfying of His physical hunger; but His focus remained on the Father!
· You will realize that there is no other final authority than the Word of God!
· A good plan is essential to any undertaking, and learning about our Lord gives you His plan.
· Imagine yourself as a participant-as if it is your story, as if you are there.
How can I make sure my desires are toward church? Go over the "The Three Essentials of Discipleship" that will endure, "faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:13 (NLT)
Read 1 Cor. 13:12 and Col. 1:3-8. Then ASK:
· Faith is our…?
· Hope is our…?
· Love is our…?
Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36 NLT)
Read Heb. 12:1-2
Committing to a Plan of Growth:
Ask what do we need to do with Faith, Hope, and Love?
1. What do we need to "FIND" ____________________________
"We all have some people around whose lives tell us what faith means; so seek them out!"
2. What do we need to "REMOVE" ____________________________
"We must remove from our lives anything that would get in the way of our Lord, including the sin that holds us back..."
3. What do we need to "FOCUS" ____________________________
"We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus; as a racehorse has blinders on to keep it from being distracted, so must we."
Bible, Prayer, and Accountability
4. What do we need to "DON'T" ____________________________
"So let us run the race with our focus on the Lord and blinders to everything else-and never give up."
More insights to help you with your personal walk with Christ
With the knowledge we have learned, it becomes our responsibility! And then we are to ask, "How then do I live?" What can I do now, today, or this week to implement the instructions given to me concerning my relationship to Christ, to others, and to myself? Keep in mind that true application comes only from the result of a life transformed. You may do good works without Christ, but they are done out of a sense of obligation and guilt, and not out of a response to your sin nature that has been covered by grace, creating a willing and loving heart ready to model the character of our Lord!
The Fruits of the Spirit are the result of a life transformed by Christ!
How we are un-transformed: "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21)
How we are transformed: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." (Gal 5:22-26)
- God uses His Word to transform us; it is what He does, and then what we do. He sends us His Spirit; we respond.
- Satan would like nothing better than for you not to do the above!!! Do not procrastinate. Press on!!! Do not assume that because you understand something, that you have applied it!!! Do not get frustrated. You cannot expect instant results.
- Studying the Word without putting any application to it is like buying a nice new car, taking it home, and keeping it in your garage. Then all you do is sit in it and pretend you are driving and listening to the radio, but never actually turning it on or going anywhere with it.
- When we read God's Word and do nothing with it, we become the biggest fools in the universe!
- This area of putting feet to God's Word is the most neglected aspect of our Christian life! But it is at this part that our lives change and God uses us to change others.
Read Romans 12 or choose a short book like II or III John or Jude or…) and go through it together or in small groups as a devotional.
· Jesus urged us to build our lives on His Word. (See Matthew 7:24-27)
· What must I do to make God's Word real in me?
· When will what I learned end up in my day planner?
· What is my response?
· The Word of God is to lead us to model the character of Christ, to be formed in the image of God.
Mediate over the passage you are studying-that is reflect on it, ponder it, and think of it so that you are seriously going over the passage again and again in your mind. Then the memorization will become easier since the verses have taken root in you!
· How are you encouraged and strengthened?
· Where have you fallen short? How can you improve?
· What do you now intend to do with the information given to you by the Holy Spirit through God's Word?
Remember: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching…" We must never substitute personal beliefs for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16)!
Doing our devotions is simply getting into God's Word, and it must affect our everyday life including how we think and how we feel. From this come our values.
We are to be active in God's Word even when we are not reading it.
Our lives must be based on analysis, synthesis, valuing, organizing, and comprehending our Lord Jesus Christ to our very "existential core," that is the very soul and being of who we are in Christ!
We must have the confidence that the Bible is truth, and the truth is living within us.
Without such confidence, we can in no way transform ourselves, let alone infect others with the Gospel message! This is Knowing It!
We must allow God's Word to bend and break our will and desires over to His!
More questions to ask yourself and God while doing your devotions:
· What did God say to you today?
· What/whom did God nourish with you today?
· Are you appreciating it?
· Are you not only receiving the great benefits, but offering them to others around you?
· Are you a changed person as a result of receiving the Word?
· Service is who we are in Christ, and not so much what we do for Christ!
Do not skip your meals in God's Word!
Spend the remaining time in prayer for your individual needs and for others and how your learning can apply to both. You can also "Meditate" (read slowly several times quietly with a sense of being surrendered to Christ, and not full of the noise of your thoughts and plans).
A paraphrase of Hebrews 12:1-2:
"We have around us many people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish."
More passages to mediate upon: Psalm 119:133; Proverbs 2:4; Phil. 1:9-11; 4:8-9; Romans 1:18-32
So let us go out and live as our life belongs to our Lord, as it does, and be holy!
© 1980, 2000, 2008, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org