Intro: Building off of last week’s series, where we ended with “Keep Walking”, this week’s series is “First Steps”. Now, if you’ve been a Christian for a long time, don’t think this isn’t for you. There are some good reminders in here of things we can do to strengthen our walk, and of why we do them. So this week we’re going to look at Daily Devotionals, Bible Study, Prayer, Obedience, and Acts of Service. I want to be clear: these things do not make you a Christian or get you to Heaven. They make you a better Christian, they strengthen your connection to God and your understanding of Him, which will have indescribable benefits for you both here on earth and in Heaven.
The first step that I want to introduce to you today is a “Daily devotional”. A daily devotional is simply time that we set aside to spend with God. It might include scripture reading (your Bible), prayer, reflection, and/or worship through the arts (like music). There are a lot of daily devotional books, websites, and even youtube series that guide you through a daily devotional.
I have good news for you – you have already taken that step today! (These weekday posts on my blog, which include Bible verses, can be part of your daily devotional. Or come join my Twitch stream (or watch the videos), at https://www.twitch.tv/ukuleleworship , where we spend the first 30 minutes as a devotional, with worship music and reading this daily devotional post.)
As I said in the introduction: this is not a requirement of salvation. This isn’t some hidden fee, or an extra burden of being a Christian. This is something we can choose to do.
Daily Devotionals have some pretty significant benefits:
* Reinforce Biblical Teaching, making us stronger Christians
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
* Remind us where our focus and priorities should be
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
* Provide encouragement and/or refuge
Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
* Provide power that helps us ACT like better Christians
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
However you do it, the point of a daily devotional is that being a Christian doesn’t stop on Sunday. Can I just say: there are too many people who act like it does? So, don’t be one of those people. It is easy to do that – to slip into a more worldly lifestyle during the week and then seek forgiveness on Sunday. But you aren’t making yourself any stronger doing that, and you aren’t being a good witness to people who see you as an example of what Christians are like. I know I need a daily reminder of who I am supposed to be – and some daily encouragement and instruction, too! Setting aside just a little time for a daily devotional can keep us on track the rest of the time, so it is definitely a good first step in your Christian walk.