Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Daily Devotions: Duty or Delight?, Part 4

Leslie Basham: What's the purpose of a daily time reading the Bible and praying? Is it to impress God? Is it to get the day off to a good start--or is there a deeper reason?

 

 

It's January 10. Welcome to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

 

 

Perhaps you made a New Year's resolution to have a daily quiet time alone with God. How's it going? Often if we rely on our own willpower to have consistent devotions, we fail. But true devotion is about more than just following a routine; it's a natural result of a love relationship with God. Let's join Nancy Leigh DeMoss as she talks with a small group of women about the purpose of daily devotions.

 

I think this whole matter of daily devotions can create a lot of guilt in many of us, particularly busy women. Have YOU ever had these kinds of thoughts? "If I have my devotions, God will be pleased with me." "If I don't have my devotions, God will be disappointed with me." "If I have my devotions today, God will help me; and my day will go a lot better." "If I don't have my devotions today, my day will be disastrous!" Or, perhaps you've said, "I have to have daily devotions: every good Christian does."

 I think it's important to remember that the purpose of daily devotions is not to make points with God. It's not to earn His favor or to get Him to love us more. God couldn't love us anymore than He already does! He has already shown favor to us, not because we do anything for Him; but because of Jesus Christ who is pleasing to God.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Having daily devotions doesn't necessarily make us any more spiritual. In fact, in the Bible the people best known for what we call "daily devotions" were a group called the Pharisees! They had this time every day with God, and they knew the Bible inside out--but they didn't know God. Our quiet time is not a good luck charm that's going to make our day better, or cause things to be easier in our lives, or keep us from having problems.

 

 

So, then, what is the purpose of having a daily devotional time? What is the purpose of getting up in the morning to meet with the Lord in the Word and prayer? If we don't understand the purpose of a daily devotional life, we're not going to be motivated to get up in the morning to carve out time to meet with God.

 

 

Today, we will look at several reasons for a daily devotional time that relate to our inner life, or personal walk with God. Then, in our next session, we will consider the purposes of a devotional life as they relate to our outer walk, or the way we function in the world.

 

 

Why have a devotional life? This has everything to do with an impact on my inner walk with God. The first, and, perhaps, the most important reason is to have communion with God. By that word "communion," I mean "fellowship." We were created for a relationship with God.

 

 

It's possible to have devotions, as I have done so many times, but not really have devotion. God made us for relationship. He longs to meet with us, to fellowship with us, to commune with us. Remember Revelation 3:20: "If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me"? Having a meal with someone, sitting down together, as I did with three friends last night, is an opportunity for fellowship. It's a chance to get to know each other--to talk with one another, to tell each other our stories, to ask each other questions, to get to know one another's heart.

 

 

In the Old Testament, when God told Moses to build a tabernacle, to place a tent where God would come and dwell: what was the purpose of that tabernacle? God told Moses, "I will meet with you" (Ex. 25:22). The daily devotional time is a time for meeting with God, for establishing a relationship with Him.

 

 

We're told that Moses and God had the kind of friendship where they met face to face as a man talks with his friend. Face to face is a picture of intimacy, of oneness.

 

 

I think of a woman years ago who said that the night before, she had gone home and had a disagreement with her husband. She said she then went upstairs and lay down on the bed and turned her face to the wall and her back to her husband. Now, you don't have to be a therapist to know that that was not a cozy relationship at that moment in that marriage.

 

 

So many of us live, in a sense, with our face to the wall and our back to our Creator. We don't necessarily intend to get into that position; we don't get up in the morning saying, "I'm not going to be a friend of God's today." But perhaps we don't take the steps necessary to cultivate oneness or intimacy with God. Moses said to God, "teach me your ways so I may know you" (Ex. 33:13). If you know the whole Bible--and some of you are Bible teachers and do know the Bible well--but you don't know God, then you have missed the whole point.

 

 

There's another reason for a devotional life that's a very important one to all of us, and that's the matter of purification of our hearts and lives. In my devotional time with the Lord, I allow God to give me a spiritual "bath." I need to be walking in such fellowship with God all day that I am allowing His Spirit to convict me of issues in my heart and responding to Him in confession, repentance and submission. But there's also real value in taking that quiet time on a daily basis to say, "Lord, will You search my heart?" Many mornings, as I get into the Word of God, either before I read or while I'm reading or after I read the text, I just pray, "Oh Lord, would You wash me with the water of Your Word?"

 

 

A day or two ago in my time with the Lord, God began to convict my heart about some motives. He brought back several instances in recent days when I had to admit that I had been doing a lot with an eye to making an impression on other people. These were instances you would have never known, and I'm not even sure I would have known until I got into the presence of the Lord. God showed me that which has been a life-long struggle for me, something I've had to go back to the Lord about again and again, i.e., the trap of trying to please people.

 

 

That's not something others will see in us, but it's something God sees. I had to get before the Lord and say, "Lord, You are right. I agree with You. Would You cleanse my heart, my motives? I want to live to please You. If You are pleased, that's all that matters." Then I have to allow God, by the power of His Spirit, to change my motives, to change my heart, to make me new. This is something that doesn't happen easily if we don't stop and be still and quiet and get into the Word of God, which is like a mirror that shows us who we really are.

 

 

Here's another thing God does in our inner walk with Him in our quiet time: He restores our souls. Oh, how I need that day after day after day!

 

 

If you ask a woman today, "How are you doing?" chances are she will say something like, "Oh, I'm so busy, I'm so exhausted, I have so much to do." We tend to live on-the-edge, worn-out, fragile lives. I don't think God intended for it to be that way. In the course of everyday living, we do get depleted. We're giving out, we're serving, and we're spending ourselves, so we need to come back into God's presence, time and time again, on a regular basis and say, "Shepherd of my soul, will you fill me back up, will You replenish me?"

 

 

This is where I get perspective. In the course of everyday life, we so easily lose perspective. We get caught up in all there is to do. I don't know about you, but my "to-do" list is never done. I never get to the end of the day and find that I have checked off everything on my list. As a result, sometimes I just feel a great need to be restored in my soul. We all do: we get used up, and so we need to get filled up.

 

 

It's in my quiet time that God calms my spirit, steadies my nerves, and settles my heart. It's there that I get a fresh infusion of strength, energy, and new resources--not my own natural resources but God's resources--to be able to go into this new day, with new challenges, facing who knows what, with confidence, with power for serving, with new perspectives, and with joy for the journey.

 

 

God also uses this time to instruct us, to teach us His ways. Psalm 103:7 says, "[God] made known his ways unto Moses, he made known his deeds unto the people of Israel."

 

There is a difference. The children of Israel knew the deeds of God. They saw God open the Red Sea and take them through on dry ground. They saw God send manna and quail from heaven. They saw God bring water from a rock. They saw God do a lot of miracles. They knew his deeds, but Moses, out of those two million Jews, was one man who knew the ways of God.

 

 

How do you think Moses got to know the ways of God? He was the one who paid the price--to get away from the crowd, to spend time alone on the mount with God, to listen to God, to cultivate an intimate relationship with God.

 

 

I want to know God's ways; and for years I have prayed, "Lord, show me Your ways. I want to know how You think. I want to know what You feel. I want to know what matters to You. I want to know how You would react to this kind of circumstance or in this kind of situation."

 

 

In your marriage, you want to know your husband intimately. You want to know what colors he likes, what kinds of clothes he likes on you, what his tastes are. If you're going to have an intimate marriage, you're going to be looking for what pleases him. In my quiet times, as I get into the Word of God, I'm being taught the ways of God. Then I'm able to go out in the world and reflect His ways to other people to help them come to know His ways.

 

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss inspiring us to spend time getting to know God. Nancy will be back to wrap things up; but before she returns, let me tell you about a tool we're making available to help you develop a lifestyle of devotion. It's a book Nancy has written called A Place of Quiet Rest. In it, she addresses the issues that tend to keep women from entering into a rich devotional life. She offers practical steps for cultivating a close relationship with God. A Place of Quiet Rest is now available in paperback for a suggested donation of $13 when you call us at 1-800-569-5959. That's 1-800-569-5959.

You can also get a tape of today's program. It's part of a series of messages on developing a rich devotional life. You can find information on any of Nancy's books or tapes on our Web site. The address is http://ReviveOurHearts.com.

 

 

Did you know the time you spend in daily devotions with God affects the way you treat other people? Nancy will talk about that tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

 

 

Now here's Nancy with a final challenge for today.

 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As you look at your walk with God, do you want to experience intimate fellowship and oneness in relationship with Him? Do you want to live a life that is pure and cleansed, washed before Him? Do you want to experience restoration of your soul on a daily basis? Do you want to know His ways?

Then you need to make the commitment to set aside time on a daily basis to say, "Lord, show me Your ways and wash me. I want to know You and to have You restore my soul." If you'll take time to get into His presence and get quiet before Him, He'll fulfill those purposes in your heart and life.

 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

 

 

 

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