“If thou meanest to enlarge thy religion/piety do it rather by enlarging thy devotions than thy extraordinary”- Jeremy Taylor
I like that these two Christian activities came to be called “Devotion” for short. And I especially like the English meaning of “devotion”; It includes love, loyalty, enthusiasm. And this I think, sets the framework for the kind of attitude you should have to these 2 activities. Love to do it. Faithfully do it. Be eager to do it.
But I digress.
Have you ever caught yourself wondering what Paul’s (or any other person you’ve adored) secret ingredient was and then told yourself- “if only I could get five bullet point steps from such and such a person, I’ll stop struggling and instead grow dramatically”
How about two bullet points?
- Read your bible
See friends, Jeremy is right. The so-called ordinary devotion is what enlarges your spiritual life. The dramatic you’re looking for is bound up in the ordinary you’re neglecting.
And the first thing you should focus on is reading your bible. Because absorbing God’s word through reading is the primary road to holiness and to spiritual growth (Prov 4:20-22; 1 Pet 2:2).
Do not expect to grow in holiness if you spend little time alone with God and do not take His word seriously. Note the word alone, and never substitute public gathering (not even family devotion) for your private devotion. Devote a particular time to reading your bible daily. You can have a bible reading plan that helps. I personally find this bible reading plan generator helpful and you can click here to use it too. You can export it to your calendar and it will remind you every day of the passages to read. In addition, always make out time for meditation (Ps 1:2; Josh 1:8). Meditation does to bible reading what a steering wheel does to a moving car (Ps 119:11).
The second is prayer! It was John Bunyan that said- “ for, as for my heart, when I go to pray, I find it so loathing to go to God, and when it is with Him, so loath to stay with Him.” This seems to be the experience of most of us. But why do we hate prayer so much?
I think it’s because of the close relationship between holiness and prayer (Matt 26:41). We find our unredeemed flesh fighting hard so we don’t pray because prayer is the primary means of maintaining communication and fellowship with God and the flesh doesn’t want to, it wants everything but to spend time with a Holy God.
Admittedly, Prayer is one of the great struggles of the Christian life. Nobody prays enough, not even the most “spiritual” person you know. But isn’t that the reason you should make every effort to pray? (Luke 18:1; Col 4:2)
So friends, read the bible and pray with more diligence than men dig for treasure. Read your bible and pray every day if you want to grow (Rom 12:12; 1 Pet 2:2)