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The Effective Christian Life

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The Danger of “Quiet Times” and “Devotionals”

You may consider the following somewhat radical, but please hear me out. I think that the short devotional or quiet time, that many Christians have, actually limits their effectiveness as a Christian.

This time usually consists of reading several paragraphs and one or more verses of the Bible and a short prayer. I suspect also that this time is hurried.

The danger of this brief time is that it is the only time that many Christians devote to their spiritual growth personally. To read through the Bible in two years takes 2-3 pages a day, depending upon the size of the print. So, how long would it take to read through the Bible a few verses at a time? Probably ten years or more. Also, “devotionals” tend to focus on the same verses, so the Christian only encounters a very limited portion of the Bible. And, you are reading the thoughts of others, not your own understanding of the Bible text that you have read and worked through.

When do you really study the Bible? When do you strongly and boldly approach God’s throne in prayer? When do you cover a wide variety of prayer needs in you and you family’s life, much less the lives of others?

I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes every day of serious reading, reflection, and study that includes at least one-third of that time in focused prayer. This time should be away from all distractions and interruptions. It should be unhurried. It should include the use of Bible dictionaries, commentaries, or other helps to understand the Scriptures.

Short devotionals can inoculate the Christian and immunize him or her to the serious study that will increase his knowledge of God and his or her duties as a Christian. One might think, “I have read the Bible, a devotional thought, and had a brief prayer. I have fulfilled my duty in those areas.” Oh, no, Christian! You have only performed the briefest of duties before God. And, if that is all the reading and praying that you do, then you have not even begun to understand what God requires of His people. And, you will never understand the greatness of God Himself or His great plan for your life. Oh, Christian, read the Bible through. Study it with helpful books. Pray like the persistent widow. Find joy and excitement in the Christian life!

And, it should be the first effort of the day, if at all possible. You can really get up early, if you are persistent.

See Time Management.

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