Practice Two: Regular Devotions

The first recommended practice for 2023 was:  GET HEALTHY.

The second recommended practice for 2023 is:  REGULAR DEVOTIONS.

Devotions: A strange but good word.

The Church (everywhere) has used the word devotion or devotions for a long time.

The Bible does not actually use this word very often. The NIV uses it 11 times and every time it is talking about an attitude of the heart toward God. The Bible talks about a whole-hearted devotion to God (2 Kings 20:3; 1 Chronicles 28:9, 29:19).

King Hezekiah is described as doing acts of devotion to God (2 Chronicles 32:32), and the same is said about King Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:26). In both cases, it refers to the way they were faithful and obedient as godly rulers in Israel. Their outward actions arose out of an inward "piety" or faithfulness.

The Apostle Paul wants us to have a sincere and pure devotion to Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:3). Here Paul is talking about our commitment to Christ.

Eventually, the word was used to describe spiritual practices that create a relational intimacy with Christ.

You will still hear the phrase, "She is really devoted to _________ (fill in the blank)." Whatever the blank is--children, work, career, health, family, friends--when we say this, we simply refer to a person's strong commitment.

That is what DEVOTIONS do. They are the pathways and the channels that bring us into strong connection with Christ.

The point is not to just "do devotions" or "have devotions." The point is to engage in those practices that help us draw nearer to God, to nurture our commitment and faithfulness to Jesus, to deepen our friendship with the Lord.

Which means that devotions are not a mechanical process. They are a highly relational and interpersonal practice.

Consistency in devotions matters...

There are other words that are often used to describe devotions.

1. They are known as the spiritual practices. Practices are things we do. Reading the Bible, praying, worshipping--these are all things we DO.

2. They are known as the spiritual disciplines. Disciplines means work is needed. They are not necessarily easy. Devotions require intentionality, focus, and dedication. (The same is true for all of the physical disciples of health.)

3. We also call them spiritual habits. Habits helps us understand the repeated and frequent nature of devotions. Habits are patterns and routines we repeat over and over. As habits are established and organized, they create a lifestyle. The first practice of 2023 was how to build habits of health. The second practice is building habits of spiritual health. Many authors call them habits of the heart.

Living Word does a lot to help you with your devotional life.

All week, we'll have ideas for how you can develop a strong and sustained set of spiritual habits that will keep you connected to Christ and keep you GROWING in your relationship with Christ.

When I became the lead pastor of Living Word, one of the things we soon started was creating devotional resources for our church.

For most of our sermon series, we create daily devotionals that help you go deeper into the meaning of the Sunday message. We do this because FOCUS and REPETITION are two powerful principles that nurture spiritual growth.

One of the sad realities of so many sermons is that even when it is a message that really spoke to you and meant something, you can quickly forget the message. There are so many studies that talk about how little we remember of the Sunday message on Monday morning.

We live in a world of constant information overload. Even when something was powerful for us, almost immediately we are distracted with other information coming our way.

Jesus talks about the sower and the seed (Matthew 13:1-23). The cares and distractions of the world are one of the reasons why the GOOD SEED does not bear fruit in our lives. The good seed of God's Word needs to go underground and settle down into your heart and soul.

That is what devotional practices do for you. They are the means by which the good seed gets down DEEP into your life.

You don't need DEEP TRUTH. You need ANY TRUTH to go deep. Deep truth that remains on the surface is forgotten. A simple truth that goes deep is life changing.

Devotions help all of God's truth to go deep inside you.

Our weekly devotional resources

We create a weekly resource. It is available in several forms.

1. We have printed copies available on Sunday mornings. You can pick one up at church, or if you watch Living Word Online, you can come in on Monday and pick one up. Right now the weekly devotional resource has devotions for 4 DAYS. Each devotion helps you go deeper into the message of the week. We also have a column of ideas for personal reflection and small group conversations.

2. You can go to SERMON RESOURCES on our website. Beside every video for the message, you will see an ICON-LINK that is the devotional resource. If you click it, you will have a PDF version of the printed handout. You can read it on the screen or you can print out a copy to use.

3. Our Living Word Church app provides even more resources for you. In addition to the text you can access on the printed and PDF versions we have a short video encouragement by one of our staff for each day. We provide a few extra "stepping stone" questions to get you thinking about the topic for the day.

If you don't have our Living Word app, you can download it right now.

Get The App

Stay connected and get the latest content.

Download The App

One of the best things you will do for your life, and for your flourishing, and for all the problems and challenges you deal with, and for all that you desire to experience is life, is to MAKE REGULAR DEVOTIONS A PRIORITY IN 2023.

You can find the weekly devotions by clicking on the "Devotionals" tab at the bottom of the app. There you will be able to see a variety of devotionals in video and written format, as well as engagement questions to follow along with!

We have many more practical suggestions about devotions and spiritual growth this coming week.

Pastor Brian Rice
Posted in