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Five Reasons We Fail in Personal Devotions

Most of us are ready for 2020 to be over. While 2021 may carry some of the same struggles, there is just something about a new year that incites hope. For me, it has to do with the opportunity for a fresh start. Maybe in the new year, you or someone you know would like to be more consistent in your time with the Lord. You know you need Him and His wisdom, but you struggle to read the Bible every day. You are not alone! Here are five reasons why we fail to successfully implement personal daily devotions.

  1. We look at devotions as a task to complete, not a time to abide (John 15) – I am a very task-oriented person who loves to check things off a list. However, devotions should not just be a task to complete, but meaningful time spent in God’s presence. I must change my thinking, or my heart ends up in the wrong place on this. This should be intimate fellowship with the Lord and not just another appointment on my calendar.
  2. We don’t have a designated time and place – We make time for everything we deem important. If time with the Lord is truly a priority, our schedule should reflect it. I have found that when I approach anything with the “I’ll do it when I have time” attitude, it does not get done. When considering the time, be sure to give the Lord your best. If you are a morning person, this is probably early. If you are a night owl, it is probably not. Whatever time you choose, be consistent, and protect this time against other appointments and tasks. This does not contradict my first point. Just because you schedule a time and place does not mean you should look at it as a task to complete. It is still a time to abide.
  3. We don’t have a plan – Just look at how big the Bible is. Where do we start? A plan will not only help you start, it will guide you intentionally through the Scriptures. The tool my family and I use is the Word of Life Quiet Time Diary, which includes something for every member of your family. Don’t think with the mindset of completion or perfection. When you miss days or you don’t complete your plan, pick back up, and start again. God is always ready to meet with you.
  4. We allow our feelings to stop us (Proverbs 28:26) – When you wake up and don’t feel like reading your Bible, resolve ahead of time to do it anyway. How you feel is not near as important as the truth you know. What you know is that God desires to meet with you right where you are, and He uses His Word to minister to you. If you only have your devotions when you feel like it, you will miss out on so much He wants you to learn and grow in.
  5. We don’t have accountability (Proverbs 27:17) – If you really want to be consistent in your daily devotions, ask someone to keep you accountable. It would be great if you are using the same plan or tool and can encourage one another in the process. On the days when you don’t feel like doing it, it helps to know that someone else is going to ask you about it and many times it is these days that the Lord uses His Word to minister to us the most.

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