Recently I was reading a book gifted to me by Dr. Bill Welte, “Soul Keeping” by John Ortberg. I have found some very profound ideas – statements that have challenged and refreshed me – and I want to pass them along for your edification.
In a conversation with Dallas Willard, Ortberg recounts Dallas making this statement: “People in churches – including pastors – have been crushed with guilt over their failure at having a regular quiet time or daily devotions. And then, even when they do, they find it does not actually lead to a healthy soul…”(i) I wanted to jump up and shout “YES, YES!!” Me included.
I wish I could say that I have been in my Bible every single day since I came to Christ 30+ years ago.
I wish I could say I never chose other things over spending time with Jesus.
I wish I could say that I have never “done devotions” simply because I felt guilty if I didn’t.
Guilt and shame are poor reasons to have a regular quite time or daily devotions. But, unfortunately, I have seen it over and over and over again. Perhaps unintentionally other people, well- meaning friends, good intentioned church people, make us feel guilty for not being in the Word. Sometimes it is simply by sharing how devoted they are to their quiet time or the hour they spent in prayer. Comparison is a poor reason to have a regular quiet time or daily devotions.
As long as our focus is on activity (devotions) rather than being with Someone we love, Jesus Christ, it will be a duty to fulfill rather than a delight to anticipate. I am speaking to myself more that anyone. I need to heed my own counsel. I hope this helps you along the way.
iSoul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg. ZONDERVAN, 2014.