I am tired of doing my devotions.
I used to be so good at it too. Getting up every morning, opening up my devotional book, reading a chapter, praying to God, Amen-ing. I got it down.
I would do it in record time. Psh, you couldn’t beat me even if you tried.
But I’m not going to do it. Not anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving up on God. In fact, since I’ve stopped doing my devotions, I have actually grown in my relationship with Him. Bet you will too!
Let me explain myself before I get stoned.
If you grew up in a good Christian household with good Christian parents, chances are that your parents would have educated you on the importance of doing your devotions. You also may have heard it from the pulpit of your pastor, the lectern of your religion teacher, or the felt-board of your Sabbath/Sunday school teacher.
“Do your devotions, Kevin” they said. “you need to do it” they said.
As a boy growing up in Sri Lanka, my view of God was influenced by the religiosity of Buddhists and Hindus that permeated my society. This religiosity was underpinned by their ardent devotion to their respective deities. Both Hindus and Buddhists had to do their devotions in order to receive blessings. One’s capacity to receive blessings was directly related to one’s devotional life.
So when I was encouraged to “do my devotions”, I understood it as a necessary prerequisite to receiving blessings. Driven by a need to prove God that I was indeed worthy of his blessings, methodically and systematically I went through the step-by-step process of getting up, opening the book, reading from it, and praying the prayer. It was the same process every day with the same amount of reading, the same amount of time, and the same prayer.
And I was faithful.
I was faithful to the process because I thought I had to do my devotions in order to feel validated about my spirituality.
I was faithful because I thought it was something I had to do to merit the attention of God.
I was so faithful because if I didn’t do it, I would not be accepted by God.
I was so faithful in doing my devotions because of my misplaced, misinformed view that I had to prove something to God in order to be qualified to receive His grace.
Doing my devotions was my bartering for the salvation of God.
I came to this realization last year after studying theology for four years and being a Christian for twenty three. So I stopped doing my devotions and chose to do something else instead.
I stopped doing my devotions…and started to spend time with Jesus.
The Lord progressively changed my mindset about doing devotions. I came to a realization that there is nothing I can do make God love me more or less. I understand now that God’s love for me is not dependent on my love for God. This revelation of His character frees me from pleasing God through my insipid devotions, while at the same time, freeing me to spend that time enjoying His presence.
I didn’t have to do devotions anymore. I just wanted to spend time with Jesus.
With the exception of reflective bible reading and prayer journaling, my routines have not changed much. But every time I wake up and open my devotional book and Bible, I have a different experience now than in years past.
Because the focus has been on the relationship rather than a ritual.
Maybe you are struggling with doing your devotions. If you are, may I suggest that you begin to think differently about it. Ask God to recalibrate your mind and retune your heart. As your thoughts begin to influence your words and your words begin to inform your actions, you will begin to enjoy your time with God.
Don’t do your devotions. Spend time with Jesus instead.
Besides, Jesus never asked you to do devotions for Him. He just asks you to be devoted to him.
What about you? What have you done or are doing currently to enjoy your time with God? Leave a comment below!