So far in this series, we have established that procrastination of your devotion time is a big problem. We have also delved into some of the common reasons why we procrastinate. In this section, we get more practical by discussing some action steps that can help you to stop procrastinating.
Focus on your “why.”
The first step in stopping procrastinating your devotions is understanding why you are doing the devotions in the first place. You have to stop and ask yourself, why are you doing the devotions anyway? The following are some of the main reasons why doing a regular devotion is good for you:
Exercise the soul – devotions are comparable to physical exercise. We work out in order to promote our health and wellbeing as well as build our endurance. Exercise also helps us to shed off unnecessary weight. In the same way, devotions will help in keeping our spirits healthy. They also help us to deal with habitual sins and generally strengthen or spirits. (1 Corinthians 9:24; Romans 15:4). Likewise, devotion time like work out time must be intentional, you can just walk around the gym looking at the equipment and expect to be fit.
Successful living – the more we soak in the word on a daily basis, the more knowledgeable we become in the word. Hosea warns that we perish for lack of this knowledge. When we spend time in His word, we get to glean up the wisdom in the scriptures and then we can apply it in our lives for successful living (Proverbs 23:12; Psalm 119:11; 97).
Love cultivation – when a couple falls in love, the hormones are usually raging, but over time they have to keep cultivating the love they have and as they do this, they grow to love each other even more. If they neglect to do so, however, their marriage will be in turmoil. Devotions are our way of cultivating the love we have for God. The more we neglect it, the less we experience his love on a day to day basis.
Unity – you might have seen the wall hanging that says, “a family that prays together stays together” How true! The modern day family is fragmented due to the different interests and tastes and also thanks to technology. Having a regular devotion as a family is one way of ensuring the family is united and as the Psalmist says, when” brethren dwell together in unity, God will command a blessing.” Psalms 133.
There are many more reasons that we could add to the list but the bottom line is that devotions are very beneficial to the Christian. You cannot afford to whip through them or allow them to be crowded out of your schedule by other things.
Scheduling your devotions
As we have already mentioned, whatever gets scheduled gets done. after you have understood why it is important to do your devotions, the next step is to schedule them. Scheduling means that you properly plan when, where and for how long you will be doing your daily devotions. There are a couple of important steps that you need to observe as you schedule your devotion
Calendar – look at your devotions the same way you do dates. Schedule them in your calendar and stick to it no matter what. It is best to schedule the devotions early in the morning or late at night (for the night owls☺ ) because this is the time when there are fewer distractions from friends and family.
Be realistic – if you are already having trouble with your devotions, it is unrealistic to expect that you will suddenly start spending 3 hours in the word of God every day. A realistic approach would be to start by committing 15 minutes every day and then gradually increasing the time as days go by.
Accountability partner – no man is an island. It will be beneficial to have an accountability partner whom you can grow with. If you live together (e.g. spouse or roommate) then you can discuss your daily progress before going to bed or over breakfast. If your accountability partner lives in a different place, you can meet on a weekly basis to review each other’s progress. You could also leverage technology by posting your daily devotional notes on a blog, YouTube or via a podcast such as I do.
Find a system that works for you – there is no one-size-fits-all devotion. You have to find one that fits you and stick to it. For instance, do you prefer using a devotional booklet? And how do you prefer structuring your devotions? For instance, some people find it easier to pray or read the word after listening to some worship music. Others prefer taking a walk in nature. It is important to realize that what works for your neighbour might not work for you so just identify a method that works and stick to it.
Deal with distractions – Take measures to deal with any distractions that might interfere with your devotion before you begin. Mobile phones are the most notorious interrupters in today’s word so you can either switch it off or put in on airplane mode. That way, you can still use your Bible app without having to deal with the push notifications from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. some people believe that playing the radio in the background helps in creating a reverent mood but for some it actually does more harm than good. It is impossible for your mind to concentrate 100% on two things at the same time.
Work with goals and deadlines – there is nothing as unproductive as trying to study without setting measurable goals and deadlines. For instance, you can state, “this week, I want to finish reading the book of Matthew by reading x chapters per day.”
Supporting materials – think about any materials and tools that you might need beforehand and gather them prior to commencing your Bible reading. For instance, will you need your Bible markers? Do you have a notebook to jot down notes? Will you be doing a cross-reference in this study? Assembling all the tools you need beforehand helps you to stay focused once you commence your study instead of running up and down every minute to get something you just remembered you need.
Eat healthily and work out regularly – one reason we feel too tired to do our devotion is our bad lifestyle.as a rule of thumb, keep away from sugary drinks or junk food because those can make your blood sugar to jump like crazy thereby affecting your performance and concentration. Fish, nuts, berries and whole grains are some great examples of foods to eat. In addition to this, try to do your work out before you do the study. The exercise will help your body to be alert which will help you to grasp more in your Bible study.
Drop the perfectionism – last but not least, you must drop any perfectionism. For instance, even if you have said that you must read four chapters per day and end up spending too much time on the first chapter as you do an in-depth study on it, do not feel the pressure of reading all four. The goal of the devotion is not to be a perfect reader of the Bible but rather to enjoy the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Example of devotion time schedule
- Start with a prayer – Ask God to speak to you as you read his Word
- If you like, sing or listen to a worship Song
- Read a passage of Scripture –
- Mediate on what you’ve just read – Ask some questions about it
- Write down some reflections –
- Pray again asking God to help you apply what you’ve learned.
- Give thanks to God for his goodness and answered prayers
- Pray for others or situations
In the next week article, we will look at journaling and how it can help you to overcome procrastination in your devotional time.
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