In Christian circles it is rarely argued that doing devotions isn’t important. But the fact of the matter is that many Christians don’t do devotions. I myself struggle with doing devotions for an entirely different reason than most people – as a pastor I study weekly for my sermon, as a professor I interact with Bible students on an almost daily basis, and as a writer I post articles for all of my websites. So most would be willing to forgive me for not reading a devotion every day.
The truth is that even I would benefit from reading a devotion every day despite all of my other time spent on “Bible stuff.” While we agree that devotions are important to Christians, we rarely focus on why it is important. Allow me to list a few of the reasons; there are likely many more.
A daily devotion allows us to focus on God each and every day. It is easy to think that you get enough Bible on Sunday morning and a mid-week Bible study. These are both important times for Christians. But let’s look at it another way. You probably like to eat. After a big feast on Thanksgiving you’ll probably eat the following day, even if you were completely stuffed and ate way too much. Well, you can’t get too much of God. Likewise, going a day without focusing on Him is like going a day without food. It’s not a good idea. You’ll get hungry if you don’t eat. If you don’t spend time with God you’ll grow spiritually hungry.
Daily devotions give us what we need for the day. Sometimes something as simple as hearing a Bible verse on the radio will lift our spirits and give us the encouragement that we need for the day. There is no guarantee that if you do your devotions in the morning that you’ll read the exact verse that you need for something that you’ll encounter that day, but if you don’t do a devotion I can guarantee that you won’t read something to help you with your day. More often than not, reading a devotion will come back to you at sometime during the day and it will help you through a tough moment. Or it might be used to help someone else through a tough moment.
Doing a devotion is more than just repetition. It’s easy to see something and think “I’ve read this before. Why should I read it again?” But the Bible strikes us differently at different times. You may have read a passage before and thought nothing of it but the next time you see it you are going through a difficulty and the verse suddenly jumps out at you. I’ve read portions of the gospels dozens of times but I keep finding new things in them. It’s very unlikely that you’ll read the same passage a second time and learn nothing new from it.
Perhaps the best reason to do a daily devotion is that you won’t learn it all in church. Regardless whether your church preaches around themes or books of the Bible, there are going to be portions that you’ll never hear from the pulpit. I’m currently preaching from Exodus and I figure that it will take me a year to get through it. Obviously not every book is as long as Exodus but I probably couldn’t preach through the entire Bible in 20 years. And that’s not counting the fact that just about every preacher will naturally gravitate toward the gospels. Could you imagine only looking at the gospels once in 20 years? If you want to study some parts of the Bible, you’ll have to do it on your own. To do so you’ll have to do your own devotions.