Friday, May 8, 2009

Five Aspects of a Good Devotion

When I began this blog it was because of a post I read on the Desiring God Website called “Six Reasons a Pastor should blog.” That post intrigued me and inspired me, which led to the birth of this blog.
My main motivation and reason for calling it the Gospel Driven Disciples was two fold; the first was a more biblical approach than the so called “Purpose Driven phenomenon” and the second reason was my commitment to the maturing of God’s people. Matthew 28:18-20 compels me to “make disciples…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Colossians 1:28-29 also compels me with a burning passion to teach all men: “Him, we proclaim, warning everyone, and teaching everyone with all wisdom that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (ESV) So having said this, I wanted to lay the ground work and the reason behind the next five posts (unless providentially interrupted). I want to add my bit of insight into one of the most important aspects of the walk of a Gospel Driven Disciple; which is our devotional walk with the Lord. There is no doubt of the extreme value and necessity of a spirit-filled and biblically based devotional time with our Lord. I want to share with you some insight into a beneficial and God honoring devotion by looking at five aspects of a devotional time.
I want to look at the Confession, the Communion, the Connection, the Conviction, and the Consecration as vital and viable parts of a good devotion. Mind you now, we are not talking about a performance or a ritual that is conducted legalistically, hypocritically and without the heart. As you begin your devotion, it is good to begin with prayer. I suggest first, that you give thanks to God for a good night of sleep and rest (provided your devotion is in the morning). Thank God for the protection that you experienced during the night and that you are looking forward to meeting with him. This can lead you into thanking God for the blood of Jesus Christ which makes this time possible. As you are thinking on the blood of Christ and thanking God for the blood you can transition in the first part of your devotion which I call… CONFESSION This is the place to begin. There seems to be at least four elements included in this portion called confession. 1. The Realization of the Propitiatory Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Here you are confessing from your heart to the Lord that you know apart from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which satisfied the wrath, justice, and righteousness of God you would have no grounds for coming into the presence of the Lord. You are acknowledging that without this sacrifice you would be unable to stand before the Lord, for you would have nothing to offer to cover your unrighteousness and satisfy his righteousness. The good and gracious news is that the curtain, the veil, which had separated man from God has now been torn in two; a way has been made for us to come into the presence of God. “whom God put forward as propitiation by his blood…” (Romans 3:25 ESV) “…that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:10 ESV) 2. The Reaffirmation of the Mediatorial Work of Jesus Christ As you are thanking God and meditating on the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ you are then lead into the reaffirming of your absolute and complete trust in the full mediatorial work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. In other words, you are trusting solely in what God accomplished through Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross for your soul’s salvation and nothing else. This is a time of remembering that it took the cross and the death of Christ to purchase your salvation and all the blessings that come with his death. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (I Timothy 2:5 ESV) “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15 ESV) 3. The Recognition of Personal Sin of Yours Truly Now, you are able to move into another element of confession, the confession of your sin. Here, by God’s grace, His Holy Spirit, and His word you recognize that you have sinned. You have been freed from the penalty of sin and you are freed from power of sin, but you are not yet delivered from the presence of sin. Confession is built upon admitting your guilt and naming your sin as sin. The Greek word for confess in I John 1:9 mean to “say the same thing.” We are to say the same thing about our sin as God says. We are not to overlook sin, sugar-coat sin, give sin “cute” little names, excuse sin, or otherwise refuse to recognize it and call it what it is. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9 ESV) “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalms 66:18 ESV)
4. The Response to the Awareness of Forgiveness This element of confession is very important. Here you are confessing that you accept the forgiveness of God that is provided by the death of his dear son. You cannot progress through the remainder of your devotional time if you are not convinced of the fact that you are forgiven of your sin. “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” (Psalm 130:4 ESV) “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything” (Acts 13:38 ESV) “…to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:18 ESV) “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” (Eph 1:7 ESV) This shouldn’t take long or a major part of your devotional time. However, adequate time must be made for confession; confession that you are only approaching God because of the propitiatory work of Christ, confession that you are fully trusting in the mediatorial work of Christ alone, confession that you have sinned against God, and a confession of your realization that you are clean and cleansed by the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This confession then will lead you into the next portion of your devotion which is Communion with God. We will cover that tomorrow, Lord willing.

1 comment:

Socorro said...

Excellent post... eagerly await the next one!