Benefits of Ordinary Daily Devotions
Private devotions aren’t magic. We know that (for the most part).
We can be tempted to think that if we just figure out the secret formula —the right
mixture of Bible meditation and prayer — we will experience euphoric moments of communion with the Lord. And if that doesn’t happen, we think our formula must be wrong. The danger of this misconception is that it can produce chronic disappointment and discouragement. Cynicism sets in and we give up or whip through them to alleviate our guilt since devotions don’t seem to work for us. Our longing for intimate communion with God is 'God-given.' It’s a good thing to desire, ask for, and pursue.
God has other purposes for us in the discipline of daily Bible meditation and prayer. Here are a few:
Soul Exercise: We exercise our bodies to increase strength and endurance, promote general health, and keep unnecessary weight off. Devotions are like exercise for our souls. They force our attention off of self-indulgent distractions and pursuits, and on to God’s purposes and promises. If we neglect this exercise, our souls will become lazy.
Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete
but only one receives the prize? So, run to win.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:24
Soul Shaping: The body will generally take the shape of how we exercise it. Running shapes one way, weight training shapes another way. The same is true for the soul. It will conform to how we exercise (or don’t exercise) it. This is why changing your exercise routine can be helpful. Read through the Bible one year, camp out in a book of the bible, take a few months to meditate on and pray through texts related to an area of special concern in your life.
Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—
what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
~ Romans 12:2
Bible Cornucopia: A thorough, repeated soaking in the Bible over the course of years increases our overall biblical knowledge, providing fuel for the fire of worship and increasing our ability to draw from all parts of the Bible in applying God’s wisdom to life.
Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to the words of knowledge.
~ Proverbs 23:12
Fight Training: Marines undergo rigorous training in order to so ingrain their weapons knowledge that when suddenly faced with the chaos of combat they instinctively know how to handle their weapons. Similarly, daily handling and using the sword of the Spirit makes us more skilled spiritual warriors.
Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God
so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
~ Ephesians 6:11
Sight Training: Jesus really does want us to see and delight in him. Delight comes through seeing. But only the eyes of faith can see him. “Blind faith” is a contradiction, at least biblically. Faith is not blind. Unbelief is blind. Faith is seeing a reality that physical eyes can’t seem to believe. And faith comes from hearing the word of Christ. So, if we’re going to delight in Jesus, we must see him in the word he speaks. Faith is a gift. And like most of God’s gifts, they are intended to be cultivated. Daily devotions are an important way to train our faith-eyes to see the glory of Jesus in his word and to train our emotions to respond to what our faith-eyes see. Keep looking for glory. Jesus will give you Emmaus moments.
Therefore, we are always full of courage,
and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth
we are absent from the Lord—for we live by faith, not by sight.
~2 Corinthians 5:6-7
Delight Cultivation: When a couple falls in love, there are fireworks. But when married, they must cultivate delight in one another. It is the consistent, persistent, faithful, intentional, affectionate pursuit of one another during better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health that cultivates a capacity for delight in each other far deeper and richer than the fireworks phase. Similarly, devotions are one of the ways we cultivate delight in God. Many days it may seem mundane. But we will be surprised at the cumulative power they have to deepen our love for and awareness of him.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and make your hearts pure, you double-minded.
There are many more benefits. You could certainly add to this list. But the bottom line is this: Don’t give up on daily devotions. Don’t whip through them. Don’t let them get crowded out by other demands.
Brick upon brick a building is built. Stroke upon stroke a painting is created. Your devotions may have seemed ordinary today, but God is making something extraordinary through it. Press on. Don’t short-change the process.
“It’s okay if there was no special spark in your Bible reading today. In fact, ordinary devotions are a good thing.”
Our Daily Bread: https://odb.org/
InTouch Ministries: https://www.intouch.org/Read/Magazine/daily-devotions
Mornings with Jesus