Great Expectations from Our Devotional Times with God
What we expect from our times with God largely determines what we receive. It remains very important to see what God normally wants to do for us through our devotional time or quiet times with Him. Notice how through the verse below that a key part of learning God's Word is through our anticipation that His Word has many special truths helpful to our lives. They are all stored up ready for our discovery and the enrichment of our lives.
He who gives attention to the word shall find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD (Proverbs 16:20).
Some might wonder if devotions focuses on relationship building, is it proper to analyze what one gains from the relationship? It is not only important but necessary. The more we see the beautiful things that flow out of our relationship with Him, the more we will be caught up in His strength, wisdom, glory and love. The Lord makes Himself real by working in our lives. We cannot see Him, but we rejoice in Him!
"And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory," (1 Peter 1:8)
God at times does work outside of these parameters. He speaks in ways that awe us. That is fine. Take careful notes when He gives you things beyond ones daily needs. He is doing something special for some special reason. Our key focus is to anticipate meeting with Him. Everything else that issues from that close time together are like special wrappings.
Let's think of four areas that God specially works in through our daily meetings with Him. Each area is crucial to healthy Christian living.
Delight in God
Sustained by His presence and goodness
There is no doubt that one of the chief purposes of meeting with God is simply to delight in Him. It is the acknowledgement of who He is as our Provider, Sustainer, Lover, etc. We simply dwell in His presence. We express thanks in word, song or praise.
Separated from the world; alive to God
We can think of devotions as a time we renew our pledge to the Lord. Think of it as a time the wife looks at her wedding ring. She belongs to her husband. The church's strength has to do with the degree she affirms her separation from the world and her total allegiance to her Lord.
Discover God's truth
Sanctified by His Word; guided and empowered
Jesus said, 'The truth shall set you free!" We sharpen our sword (Ephesians 6) by knowing and applying God's Word to our lives (1). As we meditate on His word, the Spirit comes and applies it to our lives. He strengthens us through His Word in faith and wisdom to be able to live rightly through all of the day's difficulties.
Discern the day
Secured by the Lord; kept from temptation
The Lord teaches us to say, "Lead us not into temptation." This means that we need the Lord's help to stand well guarded. By staying close to His side, He alerts us to the schemes of the evil one. Without Him, we will fall.
Our devotion to God is not esoteric or mystical. We do not make believe this relationship! He is real and so is our relationship with Him. God works through real life experiences to build up our faith. Our faith is strengthened when we see His power working in our lives. Our worship is deepened when we think of how good He is. Faith is necessary not only to believe but to commune with Him whom we cannnot see.
This "Walking with Jesus" series actually goes through many gospel passages and practically shares how God speaks to His people through His Word. Click on the picture to visit!
John 15 is a special place to study more about communing with God. The word 'fruit' is repeated eight times in that one chapter (2). The Lord desires to bear much fruit from our times together with Him. Just as children are born from the close communing of a husband and wife, so the same is true with being with God.
From this fruit, people know we have spent time with God. Jesus does not define what this fruit is because it varies in kind and intensity. Bearing fruit is not only to be interpreted as having people come to know the Lord through our lives but also in the goodness and blessedness that derives in our lives from abiding in Christ. Check out the 'Walking with Jesus' series on the right.
What does God's Word say about man's ability to commune with God? Click Next>
(1) "...that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (Ephesians 5:26). We must realize that this has to do not only through the husband to the wife but the Lord to His bride. This is a constant washing as we meet with the Lord.
(2) Fruit in John 15. John 15:2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:8 By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you."