In writing about being friends with God, I came across a piece from Christianitytoday which I thought was worth sharing with you all, under the Title “Eight steps to a better friendship with God”. I have abbreviated it slightly.
“Where’s Angela?” I asked. The rest of our family was slumped on the living room couch. Everyone shrugged. Curious, I went in search of my sis.
I checked each room of the house. When I finally found her, she was intensely focused on something. She looked up, revealing the object of her attention—her Bible.
I started to notice that Angela “disappeared” about the same time each day. I wondered how she found time to read God’s Word: Between school, choir, church and volunteer activities, Angela’s one of the busiest people I know. So I asked her.
“Well, every day I have to make the choice to spend time with God,” she said. “It’s not easy, but it’s worth it—devotions help me to get to know God on my own, to have a real, personal relationship with him.”
Angela had some great tips on how she formed her good habit. Here are eight of them.
- Schedule a devotional “appointment.” Write a specific time and location on your calendar, or in your planner. Try to avoid putting devotions off until the end of the day.
- Choose your tools. Some basics include: 1) A Bible.Biblegateway.com offers 16 versions for you to compare, from that classic King James Version to modern versions like The Message. 2) A devotional book or a “thought for the day” with questions to help you relate the verses you’ve read to your own life. 3) A journal. Use it to record your favorite verses and reflections on Scripture. Or, try writing a poem or letter to God.
- Start with prayer. Ask God to keep you focused and to help you understand what you’re about to read.
- Use your Bible. Even if you use a devotional book with verses printed in it, read the passages in your Bible anyway. “Prove it to yourself that it’s really there,” Angela suggests.
- Read it until you get it. First, read verse by verse—read each verse several times until you understand what it is saying, then move on to the next one. Then, go back and read the entire passage, putting its meaning all together in your mind.
- Don’t just read the Bible—do what it says (James 1:22). Make a list of personal traits (patience, kindness) or spiritual goals (witnessing, prayer) you’d like to work on. Each week, choose one item from your list.
- Make a commitment. On a piece of paper, write these words: “I commit to read my Bible every day for the next month.” Sign your name and tape the paper somewhere in your bedroom where you can see it.
- Don’t give up. Let’s face it: There will be days when you skip devotions. Just try to keep it a high priority and do it whenever you can. “God is not going to abandon you if you don’t do a devotion one day—he knows what our schedules are like, and he knows our hearts,” Angela says. “Any time that you spend with God, he can use it to teach you and to grow your faith.”