Do you ever feel like you need a snack? Quick bites to give you a burst of energy or curb your hunger until you get to your next meal?
The truth is there’s nothing wrong with snacks. In fact, when my Dad was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, his nutritionist actually encouraged him to eat small snacks throughout the day. However, his nutritionist was quick to stress the fact that my Dad needed to eat HEALTHY snacks. Rather than having cookies mid-morning, a candy bar and bottle of soda in the afternoon, and a bag of pretzels and ice cream before bed, his doctor encouraged him to eat fruit, vegetables, peanuts, and low-fat cheese. She said that if my Dad wanted to stay healthy, he needed to choose snacks that would do more than just curb his appetite. His snacks needed to be a source of nourishment, adding healthy proteins, vitamins, minerals and good sugars.
The nutritionist said that snacking is actually beneficial to a person’s overall health, when the snacks are healthy and nutritious. Since my Dad has replaced junk food with healthy snacks, he’s seen a dramatic improvement in his overall health and his diabetic numbers.
So, what does all this have to do with Building Strength for Our Spiritual Journey?
Well, first let me say that this article isn’t really about eating healthy. I’m no expert on nutrition; I’m just repeating what we’ve been told.
However, there is a parallel between what we’ve been learning about snacks and the spiritual discipline we’re talking about this month.
Because if Bible reading and Bible study are a Christian’s main source of spiritual nourishment (our big meals of the day), then reading daily devotionals could be considered our snacks--- a quick bite that supplements your Bible reading and Bible study with words of inspiration, encouragement and challenge.
As we talk about daily devotionals, I think it’s very important that we understand this point. Daily devotionals cannot be your main source or your only source of spiritual nutrition. Daily devotionals do not replace the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and Bible study; however, they can supplement your Bible reading and Bible study.
What does this mean?
Basically, a Christian cannot grow spiritually if they do not read and study the Bible. The Bible is our main source of spiritual nourishment, and unless we spend time reading and seeking to understand it, we will be spiritually malnourished.
Trying to replace Bible reading and Bible study with daily devotionals is like trying to sustain your body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on granola bars. Even though they make a good snack, they aren’t going to give you all of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins that you need. Over time, you will grow spiritually anemic, weak, and tired because of lack of nutrition.
On the other hand, when a person is eating healthy balanced meals, a healthy snack like granola bars, a piece of fruit, or a vegetable will provide extra energy and nourishment to help a person through their day. There’s no doubt that healthy snacks provide more nourishment than vending machine junk food.
In the same way, the Christian who is actively pursuing the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and Bible study can use a daily devotional to help them grow to an even deeper level spiritually. When read with the Word of God, the Holy Spirit could use the experiences or words of another Christian to help you see spiritual truth in a new light, provide you with encouragement in your situation, or even challenge you to grow deeper in your own walk with God.
Daily devotionals can be like a little written sermon, helping you focus on a small passage of God’s Word, sharing insights into what it means, and helping you come to a point of decision.
Just like healthy snacks are part of a healthy lifestyle, so committing to reading a daily devotional can be part of a healthy, well-rounded spiritual life. They provide additional insight, additional inspiration, and give you additional strength for your spiritual journey.
So how do you develop the spiritual discipline of reading a daily devotional?
Choose an author that you trust.
A daily devotional is essentially a human author teaching the Word of God. That’s why it’s important that you choose a devotional from an author with a reputation for teaching the Bible clearly and accurately and practicing what they preach.
Choose a topic that interests you or an area where you think you might need spiritual growth.
In the world of daily devotionals, there are a plethora of topics from which to choose. Find something that is relevant to your current life situation and get started.
Consider an online option
One of the downsides to the traditional daily devotional book is that they can be expensive. However, don’t let money keep you from the practice of reading a daily devotional. In our modern age, many of the top Bible teachers in the country offer free daily devotionals that are sent directly to your email on a consistent basis. Signing up for this service, give you access to daily devotionals from experienced reliable Bible teachers without a financial commitment.
Find a convenient time to read.
Perhaps you have a break during your mid-morning break at work or when your kids go for a nap. For others, you’re downtime might come in the afternoon, early morning, or even late at night. It’s different for all of us. The important thing in developing the spiritual discipline of reading a daily devotional is that you find a time that works for you and commit to reading every day. Just like a snack, this time could be your spiritual pick-me-up giving you the nourishment to keep going forward!
Consider the option of reading devotionals from the great spiritual leaders from the past.
The concept of the daily devotional is not a new thing. In fact, some of the greatest devotionals ever were written by great spiritual leaders who have now gone on to their reward in Heaven. The benefit of reading these devotionals is that they challenge us to go deeper. Rather than just rehashing today’s popular topics, these devotionals go to the very heart of Scripture and challenge us to join the great company of believers who have followed Christ throughout the ages.
The amazing thing is that even though these authors have passed away, their words live on. Those who appreciated their teaching have now created apps and online versions of these devotions. Here’s a couple that I recommend:
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Mornings with Tozer: Daily Devotionals by A.W. Tozer
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
Streams in the Desert - Mrs. Charles Cowman
Morning and Evening - Charles Spurgeon
Strength for the Journey - Theodore Epp
Just in case you’re still looking for suggestions, here are a few daily devotionals recommended by readers of A Wellrounded Woman Magazine:
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
The Power of Prayer by E.M. Bounds
Experiencing God – by Henry Blackaby
God's Whispers to a Woman's heart, by Cindi McMenamin
Of course, we can’t talk about daily devotionals without adding a word about what’s available from A Wellrounded Woman Ministries. If you’re interested in receiving a daily devotional from our ministry, please sign up for our email list or contact us and request to join at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a single woman looking for devotional specifically designed for today’s Christian woman, go to www.forasinglepurpose.com and sign up for our email list.
But whether you use our resources or any of the resources we’ve recommended, the important thing is that you incorporate daily devotionals into your spiritual discipline routine. Like a healthy snack in the middle of a busy day, these little bites of truth will give you that extra boost of strength you need to continue on your journey.