Sunday, May 10, 2009

Five Aspects of a Good Devotion Part III

We are taking time to look at some important components or parts of a good devotional period with the Lord. A devotion time with God is very important for any disciple, or child of God. It is during this time that you have the opportunity of coming into the very presence of our God, sharing your heart with him, speaking with him, as he is speaking to you through his word.
We have looked at the first two components, which I have chosen to call Confession and Communion. You can read those posts in the archives and be brought up to speed. We will now move into the third aspect of a devotion and that is what I call…
Someone once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” I think we can apply this phrase to our bible reading at times. If we are not aiming at hearing from God or seeking specific results we probably will not hear from God. This is how devotions become dry, boring, unproductive, or non-beneficial. The end result is that we stop having quiet times or devotions altogether.
You must come to your time of bible reading and studying, first, expecting to meet God, and second, with some specific desires in mind that you believe God will meet or fulfill. Naturally, there is any number of specifics that you can seek from God as you ask him to bless your time of reading. I want to look at just four (4) at this time. These four (4) principles are found in Psalm 119: 33-40. As you move from you’re speaking to God concerning confession and your desire to commune with God, move into what I call…
1. The Inclination towards the Word
The Psalmist prays that God would incline his heart towards God’s testimonies or towards God’s word. The word incline gives us the idea of bending or stretching something. In this case the desire is that God would bend the Psalmist’s heart towards God word. Why? Our hearts are not bent toward the word of God naturally. The Psalmist is asking God to create a desire, to create a motivation, and to bend his heart toward God’s word because there is no natural desire towards it. You must recognize that you do not naturally desire Gods’ word therefore you must ask him sincerely to supply you with a deep desire for the effective working of Gods’ word in your heart.
2. The Instruction by the Word
In verse 33, the Psalmist prays that God would “Teach me, O LORD the way of your statutes.” He is specifically asking God to teach him the meaning of his word. He is not asking to learn for the mere sake of learning, he gives the reason in the second part of the verse – “…and I will keep it to the end.” Always seek instruction in order to be obedient to what you have read. Sincerely, in our own words, ask god to teach you his word because you have been given a desire by God to obey his word.
3. The Interpretation of the Word
The Psalmist also prays in verse 34 for understanding of what he has been instructed in. Here is where you must exert some energy and effort. Sometimes little golden nuggets will be easily found on the surface of God’s word. However, most learning comes from hard work.
First – prayerfully read the text you are studying a number of times. Observe all that you can. Ask some open ended questions such as; who is speaking, whom is being spoken to, what is being said? Look for repeated words, phrases, or principles and mark them.
Second – determine what the passage or paragraph is saying within its context. This will be the main point of the paragraph. Write out this main idea in a sentence.
Third – determine what the passage means by what it says. Scripture is always its own best interpreter, it will never contradict itself. How does the meaning fit within the context – examine what was said previous to your passage and what was said subsequent to your passage. After this point in your reading – not before or during – you may check a commentary or help to see if your observation and interpretation is correct.
4. The Implication from the Word
The Psalmist prays in verse 35 that God would, “lead me in the path of your commandments for I delight in it.”
It is now time to determine the application of the passage. Now that you know what the passage says and what the passage means, what is God saying to you? In other words how does this passage apply to you? What will you do with the principle and truth that you discovered?
Meditate on the passage and its meaning. Ask yourself what have I learned about God or about Jesus Christ? What does God require of me today?In order to connect with the word of God you must sincerely ask God to open your eyes to his word.
The Psalmist prays in verse 18 that God would, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” The things of God are spiritually discerned and we are not naturally inclined to them. We are dependent upon God to reveal himself and the principles of his word to us. We must trust God and ask him to help us connect with his word!
Next time, Lord willing, we will look at Conviction.


James said...

Thanks Gregg...always convicting when I go to a commentary or study Bible before hard work. Thanks for the velvet hammer of conviction there.

Gregg said...

Thanks James. I appreciate the fact that you took time to read this post and comment.