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.
Vacationing in Northern Michigan this past week was filled with special family moments and created many memories. We were on a clear blue spring fed lake surrounded by hills separated from civilization by at least fifteen miles. In this place, I feel close to God as I am surrounded by His creation and His blessings. I reconnect with Him in a very deep way and He reveals things to me that I like and things that I find difficult too. Last Monday, my post was a reflection on the distraction of dust and turning distractions to prayers. I truly believe that this practice of praying without ceasing is important. After all prayer is a form of communication and connection with my Lord. But God convicted me this week about the importance of daily devotions. Yes convicted. He revealed to me that if I pray without ceasing every day without carving out specific time for Him, it would be like driving a car and never refueling.
Daily devotions provide that time of refueling. It is when we are able to connect in a deeper way with our Lord Jesus, through His word, study, reflection and yes, prayer. When we fix our eyes on Him daily, He is able to fill us with His wisdom, His strength and His peace. During this time of stillness before Him, He may even break us or convict us to address those areas that are challenging. 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 are there days that I allow the events to fritter away my time? How do I make these daily devotions a true priority? Here is an entry from my own journal, one of those divine convictions, “Excessive planning can cause stress and perpetuates an undue focus on the importance of self. This in itself is a form of idolatry and hinders our relationship with Christ.” If I continue to make excuses about my distractions, letting the events of the day control me, it can be a form of sin and idolatry. Ouch!
Remember one of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before me.” The gods of our lives are not golden calves, but come in the form of technology, media, materialism, exhaustion, challenges, worries, prestige, goals, dreams, fitness and even the god of wasted time. These “gods” can clutter our mind causing us more stress and perpetuate the focus on our own importance. This can hinder our relationship with God and can be 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 that privilege, daily devotions are one of the most important things we can do to honor Christ. By carving those moments with Him, He can focus us, help us to organize our day and give us the strength and wisdom to handle whatever distractions or challenges that may invade our thoughts and our time. It is when we lose focus of Him that 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