From “I Have To” to “I Have To”

Psalm 1: 1-3 Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.   

I was discussing the importance of having a daily devotional life with some students the other day when one girl remarked how she went from “I have to do devotions each day” (in an obligatory way) to “I have to do devotions each day” (in a desperate way). I knew what she meant.

Most believers consider spending time each day with God in prayer and reading the Bible essential for spiritual growth. Yet making it a priority doesn’t come easily. I’ve known pastors who look to the Bible primarily as a resource for sermons, not as a means of developing intimacy with God. Students at the Bible college where I teach have confessed how it’s sometimes easier to neglect devotions when they are taking Bible classes all the time. The Word of God becomes more like a text book to them than the source of life. Their relationship with the Lord weakens and they don’t know why.

Scripture says those who “meditate on his law day and night” are blessed. They aren’t quick to get dehydrated in the race of life because they are watered by streams that flow from God’s word. They bear fruit in every season of the soul because they receive daily nourishment. Their witness doesn’t wither like a leaf. It flourishes. And if that’s not enough, “whatever they do prospers.” Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

There was a time in my life when reading God’s word did not hold the importance that it does today. But somewhere along the way, I got hungry for more. I became desperate and like my student, I flipped from daily devotions being something I had to do, to something I can’t live without. It will happen to you, too. If you’re struggling with a daily devotional life, don’t stop pursuing it. Even if it feels obligatory right now, as you continue to seek God, one day it will turn around.

And life will never be the same.

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