Ever since I started to follow Jesus, I’ve heard people talk about what are devotionals and why I should use one. Most of the time, it was usually wise, godly, older people who spoke about their ‘devotional’ time and used devotionals. As people spoke about devotionals, I would smile, nod my head, and pretend to know what they were talking about when I had no clue. It wasn’t until I went away to a summer camp that I began to ask questions about devotionals. As I began to explore, I discovered a great, wide world of devotionals. There were daily ones and yearly ones. Some were brand new, and others were ancient. Men had specific devotionals, as did women, teenagers, singles and married couples. So, what are devotionals, and why did people use them?
Here are three reasons why people use daily devotionals and why, maybe, you should use one too.
Daily devotionals build great habits
I don’t like going to the gym, and I can’t stand running. I’d much rather eat chocolate, lie on the beach and relax. However, I’m aware that I need to exercise to maintain a reasonable degree of physical and mental health. Study after study has shown the benefits of physical movement and how it leads to significant health benefits. Therefore, I go to the gym, lift weights, and do burpees, not because I enjoy it but because it’s good for me. The strange part is that as I have continued to exercise, I’ve started to enjoy it, and when I skip the gym, I miss it.
If I’m honest, that’s how I’ve felt about daily devotionals. Sometimes, my busyness has meant I haven’t wanted to read my Bible. I struggle to know what part of the bible to read or to figure out what it means. This is where a devotional can be enormously helpful. Devotionals like the Glorify App lead me in my quiet times and help me meditate on the word of God (see this post for more on meditation) and help me to strengthen my inner self as the Apostle Paul writes:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Daily devotionals help me when I’m in a storm
Life can be challenging. Unforeseen circumstances can blow us off course, unsettle us and cause us to question everything. At times like this, I struggle to know what to pray. Words fail me, and I’m uncertain about what God is doing. Having a daily devotional has proved invaluable in these times. Reading someone’s insights as they have navigated their storms gives me hope and peace. As I’ve not known what to pray for, it’s been beautiful to be able to join in the words of an ancient saint who has written their prayer down for me to whisper to my Father.
A daily devotional also allows me to draw faith from biblical tales. I used to believe that the Bible characters were flawless heroes who never struggled or faced difficulty. As I grew and read more, I realised that this perception couldn’t be further from the truth. The men and women of the Bible faced storms, questions, uncertainty and pain. The writer of Hebrews explains this wonderfully as they tell the stories of our faith heroes.
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11: 32-36 & 39-40
Daily devotionals stop me from reading only the parts of the Bible I like
The Bible is a vast collection of wisdom, history and prophecy. It contains revelation on the mysteries of God, the wonder of creation and the intimacy of a Father and His lost children. However, there are parts of the bible that I find difficult to read. Some parts seem obscure and irrelevant; others are at odds with the way I view the world. My old way of dealing with these passages was to avoid them altogether and stick to the parts of the Bible that were familiar or easy to handle. The problem with this approach is that I miss out on the full wisdom of God. The parts in the Bible that I find problematic are no less valuable than the other parts; it simply means I need to wrestle with the text.
A daily devotional like the Glorify App helps me to do this by guiding me through the text. Each day the app presents me with a new portion of scripture and then helps me to understand what it means. This allows me to read all parts of the Bible, not just the sections I like. As the Apostle Paul wrote,
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17
I hope that answers the question, what are devotionals and why you should use one.