One thing I usually dread about going to the dentist is the guilt involved. It never fails that I am “encouraged” to floss more. Often I will floss like crazy the week before an appointment, hoping the dentist won’t notice! At my recent visit to a new dentist I was told that consistency is what matters. Flossing every day for a week before an appointment (which I hadn’t done…this time) is not as helpful as flossing even once a week every week. The dentist’s wording as well as her tone inspired me to be consistent in my flossing. I chose a day that I am committed to flossing each week. The weekly flossing has actually encouraged me to floss at other times during the week.
Devotions can be like flossing. We have so many excuses of why we don’t do them and are often beset by guilt. We dread anyone, especially our pastor, actually asking us about our devotional life. We might even cram in some extra prayer and Bible reading if we know a decision is coming or that we have to give an account to someone.
Flossing every day for a week is helpful for that one week but is not beneficial for the whole year. The same is true for our devotional lives. We can spend hours praying and studying the Word for one week but neglect it the other 51 weeks of the year. We can feel the effects of that one week, but gradually those effects will fade. Just as our teeth and gums need consistent care, our spiritual lives need consistent care.
How consistent are you with your devotional life?
If your devotional life is not consistent, how can you change?
When you think about developing a consistent devotional life, be realistic in your goals. If you only pray occasionally and read the Bible sporadically, suddenly expecting to spend two hours every day in devotions is not going to work. In order to set yourself up for success, you need to decide:
What day(s) of the week will I spend concentrated time with God?
How long do I want to schedule my devotional time?
Where should I do my devotions?
What do I want to do in my devotional time (read the Bible, pray, journal, sing worship songs, etc)?
How can I hold myself accountable?