Updated: Dec 16, 2021
In my opinion devotions are one of the most important parts of a healthy Christian, spiritual life. It sounds cliche but prayer, devotion and fellowship are vital to thriving on this exciting, often rocky, difficult path we call the Christian journey.
Is having a devotional life really that important?
To put it plainly, YES! The word devotion means love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person or activity. A devotional life is simply another way to build on your relationship with God.
Let's look at it this way. How often do you talk to or interact with your best friend? If you randomly stopped texting or calling or meeting up with them, how do you think they would feel? How would your relationship suffer as a result?
God wants to spend time with you as more than you know. Setting aside time in your life, even when you're super busy is one way you can show Him you love Him too.
Top Tips on having a better, more meaningful Devotional Life
Before I continue, let me say relationship is personal. There are no right or wrong ways to 'do' them. With every relationship we need trial and error, we need to build on the foundations we have and we need to also have a heart willing to make it work. Here are some ideas - from the Stay Lit followers and from my own personal life - on how you can kick start your devotional life today.
1. See Devotions as dates with God
DO: Treat your time with God in the same way you treat your time with someone you love. God deserves your undivided attention. Set a time, choose your place and get rid of all distractions. Morning, Midday, Evening or a combination of all three. Keep it consistent.
DON'T: Beat yourself up if you miss a day or if you struggle with consistency at first. You are human, you're not perfect and God understands. Sometimes you might have other commitments or emergencies might come up, just reschedule and do your best.
2. Block Out All Distractions
DO: Whatever you can to keep yourself focused, do it! If you can't stay awake sat in bed, move and sit on the floor instead. If your phone is buzzing, use the all important do not disturb feature. Where possible use a physical Bible. Identify possible distractions and eliminate them. Your relationship with God should come before anything and everything else in your life. Period!
3. Let the Bible be your main book and the Holy Spirit your main guide
DO: If you don't know what to study or where to start opt for a Bible study guide, online Bible reading plan or study a topic. You can use the search feature to find relevant keywords and verses.
DON'T: Take everything you read as truth. Some Bible plans aren't actually in harmony with the Bible. Be willing to challenge what you read and test it against the Word of God our source of truth.
DO: Pray before you begin, ask God to guide you through His word and close your devotional with a prayer too thanking God for what you've learnt.
DON'T: Try to make up your own interpretations of Scripture or take it out of context. Devotions require humility and a willing to learn and grow. Don't come to the Word of God with your preconceived ideas, let God show you His truth. If you get stuck or need assistance, feel free to ask someone spiritually mature to help you understand better.
4. Keep it relevant
DO: Choose to study a topic that is relevant to your life or situation right now! The most wholesome studies are the ones that you can gain knowledge and insight from and apply it to your own life. If you need somewhere to start we have some Bible study topics on our blog and are currently writing more. Check out our Salvation study and our forgiveness study.
DON'T: Feel pressured to digest huge chunks of information in one go, especially if this is new to you. Start small and work your way up. I like to read a few verses of Scripture at a time and really digest them instead of trying to get through a whole chapter in one day and forgetting everything I've read before the day is over.
5. There are tools out there to help you - Use them!
DO: Use a Bible concordance, dictionary, commentary and more than one version of Scripture to help you get a more rounded picture of what you are reading. I like to use 3 or 4 different translations to help me grasp what I'm reading in full. I also love looking up words in the original languages and finding the meaning of Biblical names.
DON'T: Get too crazy with your searching and instead of shedding light get yourself confused. It's important to remember that the Bible has been translated from and into different languages. Looking up every single word can often get confusing so use the tools at your discretion.
6. Join a Bible Study Group
DO: Study with others. Your devotional life will be enriched through your interactions with other Christians. If you need help finding a Bible study group to join, feel free to reach out. Also if there's no group to join in your area, why not start one?
DON'T: Studying in a group should not be your only study/devotional time. God wants to know you personally so take time to spend with Him just the two of you. It might be scary but it's worth it, trust me.
Additional Tips that can help with your devotional life
Start with 5 minutes and after a week increase your devotional time to 10 minutes. Keep increasing until you get to 30 minutes or even an hour. Soon you'll not even know where the time goes
Try to stay as consistent as possible and ask God to help you with this commitment - ask a friend to hold you accountable. Set a reminder on your phone if it helps.
Try to make devotion the first thing you do when you wake up. It is the perfect way to start the day and it gives you something to think about and ponder throughout the day.
Don't fit God into your schedule, fit your schedule around God. It makes things easier when you get your priorities straight from the start.
Trust the process, it might be hard and unenjoyable at first but keep at it. It takes 21 days to build a habit and 90 days for it to become a lifestyle.
Make devotional FUN! It doesn't have to be boring, it can include journalling, drawing, highlighting, note making and so much more.
We hope this quick guide to devotionals has inspired you to kick start your devotional life starting today. What top tips do you have when it comes to devotional? What are your biggest worries/struggles? Let us know in the comments below.