What does your pursuit of God look like? Do you keep your quiet times with God to yourself? Do you struggle with having a consistent devotional life? If we are honest, each and every one of us knows what it is like to not make God a priority, even when we know how important it is.
When I talk with people at Redeemer, many say that their devotional life is always done alone. In other words, we don’t share with one another about what God is doing in our lives, or what he is revealing to us in his word. The reality is that very few people are wired to have a robust, but private relationship with God. It is difficult to pursue God in isolation, and it should come as no surprise to us to find our spiritual growth ebbing more often than flowing when our private walks with God are completely isolated from our communities.
Something that you might try this year is tracking along with the devotional lives of some of your friends. Introducing a corporate element to your private devotions may sound like an oxymoron, but in actuality, not sharing what God is doing in your private walk with Him goes against the grain of making God’s love known (Psalm 89:1). We see this in Paul’s letters. He shares with others what he is praying about (Philippians 1:3-8), as well as his intimate moments with God (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Have you shared with someone lately what God has done in your private devotions?
I was recently encouraged to hear that five East Side Community Group Leader-Coaches came together in the fall to read the Bible in 90 days. Yes, the entire Bible in 90 days! This was a personal goal they shared, as none of them had ever read the Bible from cover to cover, and they were excited to see anew the overarching biblical narrative of Christ’s redemptive plan.
There is also a women’s CG that is using the M’Cheyne Read-Through-the-Bible plan together. The women read three chapters a day, then log into a Google share doc to record just one observation they want to share from their reading. A dad I know with grown sons is doing the same thing—M’Cheyne reading plan plus Google doc—with his adult sons who live around the world.
Now, I am in no way saying that one must read the Bible in 90 days or use the M’Cheyne/Google.doc plan in order to have a robust devotional life. What I am advocating is growing together by celebrating with each other how God has moved in one another’s personal time with God. Whether you study the same passages throughout the year, or share about your prayer lives on a weekly or monthly basis, add a community element to your private devotions. In this way, you will be encouraged and motivated by the testimonies of your friends, and you in turn will be a blessing to them.
What you will find is that there is much joy in sharing with others how God has been moving in your life through your prayer and Bible study. God uses us to spur one another to grow in Him. Have you taken advantage of the community he’s provided for you?
Aaron Bjerke is a Community Group Director for the East Side Congregation.