Our devotions are a vital foundation to growing in Christ. And while the philosophical understandings of why we read our Bible and pray are important, knowing some practical applications to growing in our devotions can be helpful, too.
I started running a few years back, and getting into the rhythm and discipline of things was quite a challenge. While the heart and desire was there, when there was no clear-cut definition of what must and mustn’t be done, I only found myself fumbling through programmes and schedules. Understanding what I shouldn’t be doing when I run helped just as much as understanding what should be done.
It’s the same way with any other discipline, especially the spiritual discipline of Bible reading and prayer. Many times we have a clear-cut definition of things that we should do in our quiet time, but it’s actually the things we shouldn’t be doing that throw us off our spiritual habits.
Here are just five of the many common mistakes that we make when spending time with God that we have to stop doing ASAP.
Nowadays, multi-tasking has become the norm for many people. We’re doing reports while having meetings. When we’re eating, we’re cutting steak while drinking out of a straw.
I’m not a big fan of multi-tasking. I believe that multi-tasking while spending time with God is most ineffective. When it’s time to talk to God, it’s time to talk to God.
2. Rush through it.
I know we can get really busy at times, and it can feel like we can rush ourselves through God’s Word and presence. But, think about it: We never rush through a movie, rush through our favourite ball game, or rush through a date. So why do we rush through our time with God? If we really knew how much our time with Jesus meant, we’d probably do it all day if we could.
3. Depend solely on materials of others.
Commentaries, devotional guides, podcasts and books are great, but they are not your source of spiritual growth. The true source of spiritual growth is your interaction and experience with the Holy Spirit, and we get most of that with our own personal revelations. Read through as many books, commentaries and devotional guides as you want, they won’t hurt. But make sure you still get a good dose of actual time with God, not with authors.
4. Project revelations on others.
When we read our Bible it can be tempting to think “Oh yeah, so-and-so should really read this.” Don’t read the Bible and talk to God for the sake of others. Do it for your own sake because you need God just as much as anyone.
5. Treat it as a chore.
To many, devotions are already a part of a checklist that we do for the sake of having it there. It can be good to switch it up, change schedules, or do something special with God every so often so we can get out of the boring rudimentary chore of mere reading. Your devotionals are meant to be dates with God, not religious traditions to keep.