Christians sometimes tell me that they are feeling discouraged. The first thing I ask about is their personal devotions. It is not uncommon to learn that they have been neglecting their devotional and quiet times with God.
Daily devotions, or quiet times are terms used to describe the regular discipline of Bible reading and prayer in a Christian’s life. But does a daily quiet time with God make a difference? In a word, yes! The gospel is what brings us to God and devotions are what keeps us close to God.
In my third year of college, there was a first-year student who would come to me about certain matters. In one conversation, he criticized the emphasis placed upon the 10 or 15 minutes of morning devotions that most of us, “Billy Bible school types” engaged in. When I told him that I placed great importance upon a healthy devotional life, he adamantly disagreed saying that, “10 or 15 minutes in the morning makes no difference in our lives.”
Both of us worked part-time for a company where we handled and deposited money. One evening he became frustrated with the job and in a moment of much angst and little wisdom, he placed an empty bank bag into the night deposit slot and pocketed more than $300 and went home.
At 2 a.m. he came to where I was working overnight with a guilty conscience and the money in hand, desperately wanting to know what he should do. I knew that if I turned him in, he would be fired, expelled from college and possibly prosecuted. He assured me that he had never stolen before and asked for my help.
I was reasonably convinced that he was not a habitual thief and that immaturity and unbridled anger were his real problems. I told him to fill out a deposit slip and I would simply put his money in with mine without any explanation. If the deposits went through the office unchallenged, then that might be the end of it. However, I told him that I would not lie for him and that if the office called, I would not withhold any information from them. I attached one condition … that we meet the following afternoon to discuss the importance of 10 or 15 minutes of morning devotions with the Lord. I prayed for him and he went on his way.
We never heard a single word from the office, our supervisor, or the bank. We had a good Bible-based discussion on the importance of devotions and how they can change our outlook, attitudes and even our actions. Incidentally, that young man went on to become a career missionary in Africa.
Sometimes we feel incredibly down because we have not been intentionally looking up!