Wednesday Weekly – June 17, 2020

Wednesday Weekly Devotional

By Pastor Rick Fisk


Pick Devotions That Move You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Last year, for our daily devotions (probably closer to four out of seven days), Barbara and I read  The Story. It was an enjoyable experience, but did take some getting used to as it does not contain all of the scriptures. Rather it is an edited text which follows the chronological time-line of the Biblical story and excludes  portions of the scriptures which are not relevant to the time-line story. We often found ourselves looking for the “rest of the scripture”, which had simply been edited out. While it took us a while to adjust to the edited scriptures, we did grow to appreciate the time-line approach. I concluded it was good for me to read the scriptures in a way that made me uncomfortable and stretched me.

Since the beginning of the year we been reading Pastor Rick Warren’s Daily Hope devotional. It is usually a two to three-week themed format that explores one or two scriptures a day that continue to expound and build upon the central theme. At the end of each daily devotional Pastor Warren always has a Talk About It section that includes questions which prompt you to think a little more deeply about the scriptures you have just studied and how you might apply what you have just learned. 

For me it is this Talk About It section that has made me increasingly uncomfortable. The reason is that Pastor Warren is big on application and accountability for what you have just read. The questions always lead you to ask, “how can I accomplish this lesson this week and how might I become accountable for assuring that what I have just learned will be applied?” I found myself saying things to Barbara like, “it could take a person the rest of their life to fully apply this scripture,” or “how many friends would I have to engage if I were going to be accountable to someone for each of the lessons I am learning?”

I began to mull over the reason for my un-comfort. Why did Pastor Warren’s approach make me uncomfortable? Then I realized I was in a familiar trap! Do you know what the most difficult part of Bible study is? Personal application! How easy it is for me to become enthralled with the study itself and to treat it as an end. I love to dig into the Word, I love to study and prepare. The intellectual challenge of discussing the Word with others and together affirming the truths we are studying is exhilarating. It is exciting to pass knowledge on to others and see the spark a new found truth brings to another person. The trap is, if this endeavor stops short of personal application. 

Realizing I had again fallen into this familiar trap, I haul myself and I respond to the un-comfort that being trapped has created. The simple truth of James 1.22 (ESV): “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only,” is like a breath of fresh air. My study needs to not end at learning something, it needs to include application. Often times the hardest part of my Bible study is personal application! 

What is application? It’s when I take the truth of God and apply it to my life. Satan doesn’t care if I study the Bible as long as I don’t get around to applying it. In John 13:17 Jesus teaches the opposite: “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” Just knowing God’s Word is not enough for me, I experience God’s blessing when I do what God’s word says.

I have a hunch that I am not the only one who finds themself in this trap of study with no application. I think it is a fairly common trap to many believers. We get involved in our study, in our church and it can become and end onto itself. Here are four Ps*of application that may be as useful to you as they are to me:

Personal – it has to be about you.

Practical – make the steps tangible

Possible – something the size you can accomplish

Provable – needs a deadline and accountability

So, the next time you read a passage of Scripture be a doer of the Word by making it personal, practical, possible and provable.

Barbara and I will continue Pastor’s Warren’s Daily Devotion, through the end of the year. Perhaps by then I will be in the habit of personal, practical, possible and provable…but especially provable because I have found, through my un-comfort, that I need deadlines and accountability if I want to continue to grow in my faith.

Next year, I’m sure that whatever devotional format we use, I will at some point find myself again being uncomfortable and I will be glad because it means the Spirit is still prompting me toward growth. 

Amen.

*thanks to Pastor Warren for the four Ps.