The Infinite Excuses
Its 7 o’clock in the morning and you have to be at school at 8. Last night (at 10) you set your alarm clock for 6:30, but you smacked your snooze button 5 times this morning. You were planning on doing a quick devotional, but you convinced yourself it was fine and that only a few more minutes of sleep would make you feel better. Besides, you have an hour and a half break in between classes. You will have plenty of time for your devotional.
Class time comes. You face a professor that drives you insane. They never give clear enough directions, they talk in a monotone voice, and they are always grumpy towards their students.
After class you have a break and head to the library. “Wow,” you think, “I am emotionally and physically drained from that class. I need to do some mindless work.” So you go on YouTube and watch The Tonight Show or Tim Hawkins videos. After a while, you realize you have a lot of homework to do, so you get off YouTube and pull out a textbook from your backpack. Your Bible falls out. “Oh no!” you declare. “I haven’t done my devotional! Ughh I feel terrible! But I have to do this assignment!” So you ignore your Bible once again and continue on other more “important” duties.
After another couple of classes you drive home and throw your backpack on the couch heading straight for the TV remote. “Just one episode of Bones and I will recover from this long day,” you tell yourself.
After Bones you go into your room to finish the rest of your homework. You are in their for 3 hours studying content that demands your whole mind’s capabilities. Ugh, your brain is fried again! “I can’t go study my Bible now! I don’t have enough energy left in me! Besides we have a family dinner tonight that I have to go to. I have to save my energy for that.”
After your family dinner, you get to bed and watch one more episode of Bones, to “recover” again. It’s 10 o’clock and you go to bed. “Ugh I haven’t done my devotional! I’m a terrible person! I yearn for spiritual food! I will just set my alarm clock for 6:30 again and I will for sure do it in the morning!”
Beep. Smack. Snooze. Beep. Smack. Snooze.
Sound familiar? I definitely think it does! This is a scene straight out of my life!
How come it is so hard for me to pull my Bible out? I know myself, I’m yearning to hear what Christ says! Why can’t I just suck up my tiredness and laziness and read my Bible!?
In my mind, even though in those moments I don’t admit it, I have more important things to do. I feel like I need to wind down before I read my Bible. I feel like I have to prepare myself either emotionally or spiritually to read it, so I make up excuses to further postpone the precious time I could be sharing with my Savior.
What am I thinking? Wind down to be with Jesus? What activity could be more relaxing than having quiet time with He who carries my burdens?!
The Pit of Despair
I know you guys struggle with reading your Bible just like me. Whether it be a job, school, kids, or pure laziness that keeps you away, we all struggle. We may have the hunger for His word, but sometimes we choose to ignore it and try to cure our hunger with activities that we call “mindless and relaxing” : Reading a book, watching TV, hanging out with friends, playing on the computer, or even sleeping. The more we try to fill ourselves with what I like to call “fake food,” the hungrier and hungrier, weaker and weaker we become. We drive ourselves to a pit of despair and it all could have been avoided if we made time for Christ in the first place.
I have failed in this challenge so many times and I drive myself into this pit. The further I postpone my devotionals, the deeper the pit I dig for myself and the harder it is to get back on track with my relationship with God. Now, God is a merciful, loving, and forgiving God and He will always embrace me regardless of my failures. I am so thankful for Him. However, studying a devotional is something YOU and ME have to take responsibility for. While we drive ourselves into this pit, our relationship with God does take a beating. WE have to work HARDER to restore it back to normal.
Restarting the normal schedule of devotions is HARD at first. Don’t expect it to be easy. Once you haven’t been consistent in hearing God’s voice speaking to you through His word, it takes a while for restoration to begin and for you to truly get something out of it. The growth will be gradual, not instant.
Depending on Christ
We have to be careful not to go BACK into the pit of despair once we work to restore our relationship with Christ. In the beginning, you may feel like you aren’t getting anything out of the devotions. I’ve been there. Like I said, it takes a while to get accumulated to His word again. I’ve done this before where I don’t get anything out of the devotional that I’ve only been doing for three days, and give up. Back to the pit of despair I go.
However, we can’t depend on OURSELVES for the strength to do our devotionals. If we completely depend on our emotions and power to get up, do a devotional, or have a hunger for the Bible, we will fail miserably. That’s why I go BACK to the pit of despair. I rely on my own strength INSTEAD of Christ’s. Earlier I said that we have to work harder to restore the relationship with God. By working to restore the relationship, I mean actively and persistently seeking Christ through prayer and submitting to Him, letting Him to do the work in your heart for you.
I was reading a verse today from a six-week devotional course created by Asheritah at onethingalone.com .
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
– Philippians 2:13
When you have trouble with persevering through your devotionals, come to God for help. He works in you! Ask Him to give you a hunger for His Word and He will! You know why? Because it is in His will for you to grow close to Him by reading His Word!
Prayer is the biggest thing you can do to strengthen your relationship with Christ. You can’t depend on yourself for the perseverance. We have to lean on HIM and ask for the strength and hunger to spend time with Him.
We have to PERSEVERE in this relationship. We have to WORK like any other relationship to stay strong. We have to PRAY for God’s help to give us a hunger for His Word. THE RELATIONSHIP CAN’T BE ONE SIDED, with God doing all the work. Take initiative and PURSUE Christ EVERYday. But most importantly, SUBMIT TO CHRIST AND LEAN ON HIM for strength.
In need of a devotional to get back into God’s word? Here is a workbook I created on the fruits of the spirit!
Want tips on getting back on a consistent schedule of devotionals? Here is an article I have posted!