This year, I began my intentional discipleship journey desiring to deepen my devotional walk with the Lord. Specifically I began the habit of writing meditation notes for the Scripture passage I am reading for the day. On several occasions, I found time passing by quickly while I was penning down the thoughts which God is communicating to me. They have been deeply enriching and enjoyable moments. I am thankful to see how the Lord reciprocated and reached out to touch me as I pursue Him earnestly in this area.
This is not to say that I did not have my down moments. Being a sinner, I continue to struggle with discipline. Just this morning, I had to conscientiously push away work to spend time to read and meditate on His Word. It seems I never learn; no matter how much God has proven His commitment to spending time with me, this heart of mine is prone to wander and stray to something else that is more tangible and controllable. Yet, God continued to reach out to me and showed His deep devotion to this relationship with me. At various times, He kept adding oil into my lamp to battle those shadowy carnal mindsets that constantly seek to steal my time with Him.
Here are two of them:
Carnal mindset #1 – I am busy
This is almost a daily battle for me. Somehow there is always a long to-do-list each day. Yet the Lord gently rebuked me in two ways. Firstly, the Lord pointed me to some young courting couples in our midst. I noted that though they are very busy people, yet they are committed to spend time to talk and meet each other no matter what. I am reminded that my devotional time with God is a love commitment too, that Jesus is the Lover of my soul. Secondly, He pointed me to my boys. I am grateful to see how Reuel is growing to embrace his daily devotion as something he can’t live without. There were nights when I witnessed how he tore himself away from his unfinished activities to pick up his Bible to have devotion time with his Lord. I realize that I have to do the same too, to be willing to tear myself away from my unfinished tasks to spend time with Him alone.
Carnal mindset #2 – The passage is not relevant to me
There are days when I feel that the devotional passage doesn’t seem to be speaking to my emergent situation. I am reminded that I must not box God up. By desiring to hear His voice only on what I feel to be relevant to me, I am making Him merely my pocket genie. When Moses asked God what was His name, God replied “I AM WHO I AM”. Certainly, this reply is to invite Moses into a lifelong journey of discovering who He is. Likewise, God led me to realise that He has invited all believers into a lifelong journey of knowing Him.
I am learning to submit to Him as He knows my every need, and He chooses my devotional passages in accordance to His unsearchable wisdom. So as I approach Him, I need to come in total surrendered-ness, ready to receive the manna He chooses to give me. I will let Him decide my diet for the day.
In a recent devotion, God led me to rethink what devotion time is about. I heard Him said: “Before you can minister well, you must first be ministered by Me.” It is a call to rest in His loving arms, and let Him refresh and renew my soul, deep within me. God sent the ravens to minister to Elijah at brook Cherith; He sent His angels to minister to His Son at the garden of Gethsemane. Being a full-time minister, there are times when my soul is wounded, dried up and weary. All the more I am realising, that I need God to minister to me each and every day.
So devotion time is after all God’s loving invitation to let Him minister to us through His Word and Spirit. For it is only when we allow Him to minister to us, that we can then be effective ministers of His great and wondrous love. May we let God minister to us each and everyday.
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 5&6 April 2014)