“I messed up my life—and let me tell you, it wasn’t worth it. But God stepped in and saved me from certain death. I’m alive again! Once more I see the light!” (Job 33:27-28, MSG)
Once upon a time I wrote: I suck without Jesus. This thought came to me very strongly when it had been a while since I had read my Bible, a devotional, or had a quiet time. Just being honest—I can tell if I’m not reading the Bible. Maybe not right away but a few days later I’ll feel something missing. And others can tell too. I get crabby. I am easily overwhelmed. I focus less on the needs of those God has placed around me and instead I focus on myself. I even start overeating or overspending. It’s crazy! I wonder what it is for you. Do you whine more? Do you cry more?
I made it a habit 15 years ago to read a little bit of the Word every day because I so desperately need His help. I became a writer through the many journal entries I have written since then. There would be days I wasn’t sure I was going to make it out alive because of my severe health issues that I’ve shared so openly about in this book. That’s why I can confidently say that I suck without Jesus.
Since it can be easy to get quickly off track from connecting with Jesus I wanted to share 10 tips to renew your devotional life so that you don’t have to suck without Jesus!
1. Be a follower. Disciple simply means follower. It’s not a spiritual term. You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God FIRST? (See: Matt. 6:33)
2. Discipline takes time. Over the years I’ve discovered what works for me. Daily eVerses + Yearly devotionals + One Year Bible + journal/pen = a VERY happy Renee. What have you found works best for you? (See: 1 Cor. 9:27)
3. If you’re bored, God’s bored. My friend Monique told me this phrase, and it’s always stuck with me. If you’re in the middle of reading your daily this & daily don’t be afraid to get creative. Try a new Bible translation, time of the day, or devotional book. In the past what have you found most helpful in getting creative with changing up your devotional life with God? (See: Exo. 31:1-3)
4. Don’t do it alone. We need community. We need people. We need help. See if one of your friends or family can keep you accountable to spend your time daily with God. If you don’t tell others, they won’t know to ask. Write down the names of one or two people who help keep you accountable for reading the Word daily. If you can’t think of anyone, write down the name(s) of people who you will ask this week. (See: Heb. 10:24-25)
5. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to lean on your accountability partner for help. When trials come (and they will), God tangibly offers His support in the form of those who are made in His image (your friends and family). Are you afraid to ask others for help? (See: Acts 16:25)
6. Keep watching! Even when we’re asking others for support and encouragement—ultimately we need to take responsibility to stand watch and keep watching for the Lord to speak to us. Where do you go to watch for the Lord? Write down at least three places including your room, the outdoors, private gardens, etc. (See: Hab. 2:1-2)
7. Use your senses. I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of food. I like how it fills me up, tastes good, and gives me energy. The Bible is like that too. We taste and see that God is good by spending time daily in the Word, through prayer, and meeting with others. How do you use your senses to connect with Jesus daily? (See: John 6:33, 35)
8. Find your promise. It took me eleven months and twenty-six days to find my promise of healing from God by searching the Scriptures. What kind of promise from the Lord are you desperately searching for or have you already found one? (See: Whatever God shows you)
9. Memorize Scripture. If you can quote your favorite movie, you can memorize Scripture. Just sayin’. When was the last time you memorized a favorite passage of Scripture? (See: Josh. 1:8)
10. Living for eternity. God has given us every spiritual gift we need for living a godly life (2 Peter 1:3, NLT). Don’t let Judgment day catch you by surprise. Live each day with for eternity. Add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, affection, and love to your faith daily. What attribute do you find most difficult and/or easy to live out loud? (See: 1 Cor. 13:13).
Dear Dream Giver Jesus, Thank You that You don’t suck! You forgive my sins, and you don’t give me what I deserve (in a good way). I see the light! Thank You for constantly helping me out of the messes I make so I can continue to reach toward the goal and keep dreaming. Amen.
What is your life like without Jesus?