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How to Set Aside Time for Devotions

By   Katherine Wilson      8:52 PM      Labels: , , ,  

Part 1 of 2

It's 6:30 AM. I'm lying in bed thinking about what clothes I'm going to wear, 
if I have enough time to do my hair, and whether or not there is anything left in the kitchen for a quick breakfast, or if I could maybe stop off at Dunkin' Donuts on my way to work. I get up, take a shower, leave for work, grab a coffee and a bagel sandwich before work and try not to get sideswiped by crazy people on the road.

Work is a hazy day of helping the public with their finances and then it's everything in reverse. I hop in the car, wonder what I'm going to cook when I get home, if I have time to do a load of laundry and try not to get side swiped by the kid driving her parent's SUV. I come home, throw together something to eat, laze around on the couch, and eventually go to bed without ever doing the load of laundry I had plenty of time to do, but left on the bedroom floor.

And I never spent any time with the Lord.

For many of us, our days are a series of busy nothings. Work, school, children's activities, gym, yoga, rehearsals, practices, meetings, facebook. Ah Social media, you sly devil. There are countless hours lost to you every day. And there are so many hours where I could have spent time in the Word, with my Father in heaven, who cares more about me more than anyone who will ever like or comment on my instagram photos of Wyn. (my cat)

This fall I started leading a high school girl's bible study on Wednesday nights, and you know what? It has been a slap in the face. Here I was teaching all of these sweet girls how to make time for personal devotions, and prioritize their lives for God, and I went straight home to veg on netflix and sleep.
I'm no where near as busy as they are! High school girls' schedules are harder to work around than any other age group it seems like! 

All of that aside, I was preachin' but definitely not practicin' if you catch my drift.

          What's that they say? "The struggle is real."
Well, yes! The struggle IS real! 

The world crowds in, pushes all attempts at a relationship with our savior out and replaces it with netflix. And candy crush. And instagram. And blogging.

In an attempt to bring things back to center for myself I've gone back to the very notes I wrote out for the girls I teach and am sharing them with you, because I know I am not the only that struggles with setting time aside for a devotion every day.

Here's a little questionnaire:

{1}   When do you get up for work (school)?
{2}   When do you get home from work (school)?
{3}   When do you go to bed?
{4}   How much time do you have to do whatever you want?
{5}   How many hours do you spend on social media?
{6}   How many hours do you spend watching tv (youtube, netflix, etc)?

Total of time from questions 4-6: _____

Read 2 Peter 1:3-9

           Vs 5. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue (excellence) and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self control, and self control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brother affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Let's pick out some words from this passage:
Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Self Control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, love.

This laundry list of Christian characteristics are daunting. I am rarely self controlled in anything, and it is difficult loving people when my patience runs thin. But look at the order… everything comes after faith. We have to have faith, or none of these things will be possible. We can be moral, and seemingly self controlled, or affectionate, caring, even steadfast. But without faith all of these characteristics are only self-serving. 

Flip the coin over and think about this: We have Faith, but we are not allowed to stay there. See verse nine? If we lack all of the things on that laundry list we are blind. Like looking in the mirror and immediately forgetting what we looked like as soon as we turn away. Faith without works is ineffective, unfruitful, death. (James 2:14) We aren't just supposed to sit on our little Christian bums and think that we can go through life believing, but not doing as an outgrowth of that belief.

Sermon's over. I feel like a pile o' dirt right now, how about you? You too? Good. We're about to get some encouragement.

I love C.S. Lewis. You know how people ask if you could have lunch with anyone who ever lived who would that be? I would be calling Mr Lewis. For real. He didn't come to Christ until later in life, so he had time to form thoughts and opinions that we would consider "worldly". But as a Christian writer, he can take those thoughts and turn them on their head. He wrote in Mere Christianity (which I would recommend highly for your book list) how hard it is to be a Christian. Our sinful self doesn't want to live a life that is hard. We have enough to worry about. LIFE is enough to worry about? Isn't it? Why should we have to worry about that laundry list up there? Another to-do list. Great. What? Devotions? Are you kidding? Why do I have to do that on top of church stuff? Isn't Sunday morning and Wednesday night enough?

Nope. Because believe it or not, there are people who can spend their whole life in the church and not be saved. We can have knowledge, but without faith, we have no hope. And if we are saved we are called to change.

Ephesians 4:17-24

             …Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and [be] renewed in the spirit of your minds, and [put] on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Imagine when you were little at this time of year (October) and you had to put on a jacket for the first time, maybe early in the morning to go to school or on an errand with your mom. But when you went to put the coat on you couldn't get the sleeves up to your shoulders. The back was tight, the zipper wouldn't reach around your chest. Whatever. It was unwearable. So. You had to take off the old jacket and put on a new one. Either waiting for you at the back of the closet, or at the store as soon as you could get there.

Our old life - our pre-Christ life - doesn't fit any more. We have to put on our new garments that resemble their maker. God. We are clothed in His likeness when we pursue works after our faith. Suddenly that laundry list doesn't look so daunting now. It is doable. Because it comes from God, who grants it to us when we seek it out in scripture and in time with Him. 

Part Two Monday! 

About Katherine Wilson

Katherine is your typical white female who likes pumpkin spice lattes, anything fall scented, and the color 'mint'. But She also is the wife of a seminary student and a woman who strives to live a creative life for the glory of her maker. Now ain't that somethin' different?

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