A common phrase used in my earlier years as believer in Jesus was to “have devotions.” People kept one another “accountable” by asking, “Are you having devotions?” The idea of accountability could be the subject of another whole blog, but for this one, I was reflecting on the idea of having devotions contrasted with living a devotional life.
Is there a difference between devoting a certain amount of time each day to reading the Bible and praying and to living a life devoted to God?
Yes! There is a drastic difference between setting aside a portion of my day to devote to God and practicing the presence of God all day as Brother Lawrence advocated. The letters contained in the book, Practicing the Presence of God, were written in 1666, yet the insights are still relevant today. Throughout our days, our spirit can always be attentive to His presence with us and our ears attune to His voice. Therefore, we are continually having inner conversations with the Lord (prayer) throughout our day. We are hearing God’s guidance, correction or encouragement and responding to Him.
In the first case, our devotional time is a similar to a piece of a pie. We compartmentalize our lives so God governs one area, but we tend to let the world, our desires or the voices or others permeate everything else. When we are living a devotional life, every minute of my day becomes an act of worship.
When we “have devotions,” we get our “marching orders,” and depart to accomplish what we think the Lord wants. However, our tendency is to fall back on our own wisdom and strength.
Apart from Him we can do nothing. The more closely we abide in Him (live a devotional life), the more closely we can be conformed to the image of Christ. The more we become like Jesus, the more He (not me) will flow over into the lives of others. While my goal 25 years ago may have been to have daily devotions, today I seek to live every moment aware of His presence, depending on His Spirit for my strength, asking that every word I utter will be His word, and for every interaction I have with others to reflect him. To do this, I can’t stop my time with God at 8 am to move on with the rest of my day. I entrust myself to His tender care all day and I invite Him to speak into my life even when I am sleeping.