By Asst Ps Patrick Chan Yin
7-8 Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
“Be good to me! Answer me!”
When my heart whispered, “Seek God,”
my whole being replied,
“I’m seeking him!”
Don’t hide from me now!
9-10 You’ve always been right there for me;
don’t turn your back on me now.
Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me;
you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.
Psalm 27:7-10 (The Message)
Marketing experts teach us that the first rule of marketing is that you should know your customer. I would like to translate this into the first rule of devotion, which is to know our God.
Even though we all know how important it is to spend time with God, this is easier said than done. Why? Because we are so easily distracted by the affairs of this life and, of course, with social media or online activities that the first thing we often let go of is our devotional time with the Lord.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us to stay at home as much as possible, we now have the rare gift of time on our hands. God is kind of forcing us to slow down and pay attention to Him. I pray that we will use this time to establish or re-establish our routines that would prioritize our time in His Word.
Here are five suggestions I have found that may help us grow in our relationship with God:
1. Set an amount of TIME to spend with the Lord- Start by making a REALISTIC commitment.
Look at your past record and be informed about your potential for the future. If you have not been able to successfully spend 5 minutes a day with God in the past, then know that it will be difficult to resolve spending 30 minutes a day with Him in the present. Start with an achievable target, and slowly increase the time spent with God.
Look at your daily routine – schedule your time with the Lord each day. Your devotional time does not have to be the same every day, but it is highly recommended as it will become a part of your routine.
Look at your yearly gains – by dedicating daily time to spend with the Lord, you are accumulating a healthy amount of time spent with Him each year: 15 minutes/day = 75 hours/year; 30 minutes/day =150 hours/year; 1 hour/day = 300 hours/year. Be encouraged by this!
2. Decide on your PRIORITIES – Once you have decided on how much time you will spend with the Lord, you need to decide what will actually take place during your devotional time.
Which disciplines will you practise over others? Will you read the Bible? Will you pray? Will you worship? Will you journal?
What is your annual goal? Think of what you would like to accomplish over a period of a year. For instance, would you want to read the entire Bible over the course of a year? This will guide your day to day priorities.
3. Make it FUN – Do not allow yourself to be miserable in your pursuit of Christ. This misses the whole point of time with God.
What do you enjoy doing? Start there. Do you enjoy singing? Do you like going deep into the Word? Are you an intercessor? Lean into your passion!
How can you be creative in your time spent with God? Writing, drawing, journaling, even painting or playing musical instruments are all ways to ‘spice up’ your daily time with the Lord.
Engage all your senses:
Light a candle with your favourite scent as you enter into His presence.
Listen to music that ushers you into the presence of God (Click here for an example).
Say (or hear) a prayer that will lift up your soul with the Spirit of God (Click here for an example).
Purchase a beautiful journal and pen that writes well.
4. TRACK your progress – Make a record of what you have learnt and done, and occasionally look back to see how far you have come and what the Lord has done in your life. Here are some ways to track your progress:
Journal the lessons you have learnt from God’s Word on a physical or online journal.
Print out a Bible reading plan and put a tick next to the passage you have read each day (See examples of Bible reading plans here).
Download an app on your smartphone to keep track of your progress. I highly recommend “The Bible App” from YouVersion.
Post pictures depicting your time with the Lord or verses that have encouraged you online. You may use the “Images” feature on the “The Bible App” to do that.
5. SHARE your journey – Share how you are spending time with God with at least one other person.
Devotion to God is the gateway to discipleship. Do not allow the golden opportunity of sharing your devotional journey with others to go by. Instead, leverage on it to help others accomplish the same goal. People are inspired by models of devotion!
I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
Stay with God.
Psalm 27:13-14 (The Message)