When a new school year begins, there are always adjustments to be made. Sometimes, it’s learning to wake up early again. Other times, it’s remembering how to keep track of homework. For one of my young students, it was learning that daily devotion would be a part of every school day.
The first day, when I told my class it was time for morning devotion, this child visibly deflated. His shoulders slumped, his face fell, and tears began to roll down his cheeks. It took a while, but eventually I coaxed him into church to join everyone else for devotion. Over the next few weeks, this turned into a pattern. One day he looked at me with a mournful expression and said, “You know I don’t like devotion!” I kneeled down and said, “I know you don’t. But it’s really important and that’s why we do it.”
So. What’s the point of telling you this? It certainly isn’t to “out” my little student and make an example of him. In fact, if you were to ask me who it is, I would tell you it’s you. And it’s me. Our sinful flesh fights against going to church or making time to study God’s Word. We find excuses to skip that devotion or worship service. On our own, it’s the way we will always lean. The path our feet will always turn down.
Sometimes the solution to our first instinct is simply to tell ourselves, “I know you don’t want to. But it’s really important and that’s why you do it.” Rarely does one walk away from a church service, a Bible study, prayer or devotion time, and say, “Well, that wasn’t worth it.” Much like forcing yourself to get that exercise time in or eat those vegetables, we are always glad when we’re done. We recognize the benefits and value in giving ourselves what we need. However, unlike eating healthy and exercising, regular time in God’s Word includes the promise of His powerful, faith-giving Spirit. Not to mention God’s guarantee that His Word will not return to Him void, but will accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55:11).
Fast forward a few months. These days, when it’s time to go into church for devotion, there is no fuss from my student. No problem. In fact, he’s often the first one to line up. He listens and participates in devotions. He includes his petitions with the others that fill our prayer request board. He sings his praises and recites his memory work.
Isn’t this a beautiful story? Great blessings come from making God’s Word a regular part of life. It’s how the Holy Spirit works in the heart, encouraging and strengthening faith, and preparing one for the life to come.
It is your story. And, praise God, it’s also mine.