Psalm 121: 1-2
I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Last month, in between speaking engagements, I had the opportunity to spend time at my sister’s cabin in Northern Michigan. It is on the same lake we vacationed at when I was growing up. Lake Louise is a clear blue spring-fed lake surrounded by hills separated from civilization by at least fifteen miles. I feel close to God in this place as His creation and blessings surround me. I reconnect with the Lord in this place, and His revelations can include encouraging and challenging messages. Once again, God convicted me about the importance of daily devotions. Yes convicted. He revealed that it was like driving a car and forgetting to refuel if I prayed daily but failed to carve out specific times for reading scripture and quiet time.
Daily devotions provide that time of refueling. It is when we can connect more profoundly with our Lord Jesus through His word, study, reflection, and prayer. When we fix our eyes on Him daily, He can fill us with His wisdom, strength, and peace. During this time of stillness before Him, He may even break us or convict us to address challenging areas. Whatever happens, these daily moments help us to grow in our relationship with Christ and equip us to be more effective in our service to Him.
So why do I allow distractions to fritter away my time? What can I do to avoid detouring my thoughts to the circumstances and demands of the day? How do I make my daily devotions a proper priority? Here is one of the convictions the Lord revealed to me.
“Excessive planning can cause stress and perpetuates an undue focus on the importance of self. This is a form of idolatry and hinders our relationship with Christ.” Suppose I continue to make excuses about my distractions, letting the day’s events control me. In that case, it can be a form of sin and idolatry. Ouch!
Remember, one of the Ten Commandments was, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The gods of our lives are not golden calves but come in technology, media, materialism, exhaustion, challenges, worries, prestige, goals, dreams, fitness, and even the god of wasted time. These “gods” can clutter our minds, causing us more stress and perpetuating the focus on our importance.
This hinders our relationship with God and is a form of idolatry. When we allow ourselves to focus on earthly stresses without taking them to God, we are no better than the early believers that made graven images. There is to be nothing, absolutely nothing, that is set higher than your relationship with God.
To take all our cares and worries to our Lord Jesus, who loves us and died for us on the cross, is a privilege. To honor this, daily devotions are one of the most important things we can do to keep Christ. By carving those moments with Him, He can focus us, help us organize our day, and give us the strength and wisdom to handle whatever distractions or challenges invade our thoughts and time. When we lose focus on Him, it makes us vulnerable to the demands of those around us. Lamentations 3:22-24 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.'” Start refueling today.
Dear Loving Lord, forgive me when I make excuses and leave you out. I never thought that my surrender to the distractions in my day was creating an idol that removed my focus from You. Help me to seek and refuel with Your mercies every morning. I want to find my strength in You and intentionally live each moment for Your Purpose. Amen