3 Essential Elements of True DevotionDecember 23, 2013
The great devotional writer Oswald Chambers said, “If God allows you to be stripped of the exterior portions of your life, He means for you to cultivate the interior.” Cultivating the interior is the essence of devotion. True devotion is knowing that you will never be able to repay Christ for Calvary, but giving it a daily attempt. It is, as David MacIntyre puts it, the time in which we “discover the excellence of God’s character, and by beholding Him we also allow Him to transform the soul.” If the soul needs “interior cultivation” then devotion is the soil in which the divine life takes root.
Although devotion may include certain disciplines of writing, journaling, Bible-reading, and meditating, it requires much more than ink, paper, and thoughts – it demands that we empty ourselves before a Holy God and drink from His fountain. It is turning from our ornately-designed tables of the flesh, denying ourselves of temporal desires, and taking a seat at His table where the meal is prepared and provided from ovens beyond this world. In short, it is taking wings toward heaven where our landing will be in the very presence of the Holy Lamb of God.
This all sounds lovely, desirable even; but so many Christians, even spiritual leaders miss out on the most vital aspect of their religion: devotion to God. What is required in devotion? Why do so many miss out on the goldmine of Glory?
1. Devotion Requires a Quiet Place.
We are addicted to noise. We wake up to a screeching alarm only to go to bed with a roaring television. We need a place of retreat. A.W. Tozer, the eccentric prophet from yesteryear said, “Retire from the world each day to some private spot. Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God’s presence envelopes you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it.” Do you have a place to go to spend time alone with God? If not, find one today, stake your ground, claim your borders, kick off your sandals, and draw nigh to the holy place.
2. Devotion Requires a Quiet Hour.
Jerry Bridges said, “Just as a house must have a foundation and framework to hold it together, so our all-day communion with God must have a foundation and a framework to hold it together. The foundation of our communion with God is the morning quiet time.” The morning is designed by God to find mercy anew. It is suggested by Christ Himself that we find the Heavenly Father early. Praying for “daily bread” does the body little good in the evening after the day is spent. Christ’s command to pray places a priority on a particular period: the morning time. Rise early, and often; find God before the frustrations of the day find you.
3. Devotion Requires a Quiet Heart.
Steve Farrar contends, “It is entirely possible for a man to appear perfectly fine, to live an outward life of doing all the right things, and yet to be completely isolated from God in his heart.” Devotion is about getting your heart in tune with God; again. To do such a thing, we must hear the soft melody of the Master as He plays to our soul in quiet solitude. Too often we barge into the holy place with loud, obnoxious, out-of-tune sounds from the world. Be still, know that He is God. Soften the religious rhetoric enough to hear Him speak to, dare I say, change the soul. The quiet heart values hearing from God as much as it does speaking to God. If devotion really is interior cultivation, then the heart is the place where the construction begins.