Do you find this confusing? Though you sing hymns, pray, and read the Scriptures every day, you gain nothing from doing so and are still estranged from God. The fellowship below shows you three paths of practice of how to do devotions to get closer to God.
God’s words say, “To come before God to accept His words as your life, you must first be at peace before God. Only when you are at peace before God will God enlighten you and give you knowledge. The more at peace people are before God, the more they are able to receive God’s enlightenment and illumination. All this requires people to have piety and faith; only thus can they be made perfect. The fundamental lesson for entering spiritual life is being at peace in God’s presence. Only if you are at peace in God’s presence will all your spiritual training be effective. If your heart is incapable of being at peace before God, you will be unable to receive the work of the Holy Spirit.”
“Every one of you must have a time for your devotions, a time when you put aside people, events, and things; settle your heart and quiet yourself before God. Everyone must keep individual devotional notes, recording their knowledge of God’s word and how their spirit is moved, regardless of whether they are profound or superficial; everyone must consciously quiet their heart before God. If you can dedicate one or two hours each day to true spiritual life, then your life that day will feel enriched and your heart will be bright and clear. If you live this kind of spiritual life every day, then your heart will be able to return more into God’s possession, your spirit will become stronger and stronger, your condition will constantly improve, you will become more capable of walking the path on which the Holy Spirit leads, and God will bestow increased blessings upon you.”
From God’s words we can understand that if we want to achieve good results in devotionals, the most fundamental is to first quiet our hearts before God, for only by doing this can we obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. In real life, however, when we do devotions we often have things like work and family on our minds and our hearts are not truly quiet before God. Then we’re just following a rule in our devotionals—it is impossible for us to obtain the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment.
Therefore, in order to achieve good results in devotionals, we must first practice quieting our hearts before God. Before devotionals, we shouldn’t think about the things that have nothing to do with the truth and should get away from all the people, events, and things that could take our hearts away from God. This is the only way to get something out of our devotionals. The morning is the best time for us to do devotions—it’s easy for us to quiet our hearts before God in the morning, before we’ve come into contact with the people, events and things of the outside world. During this period, we can quiet ourselves before God, pray for God’s enlightenment and guidance, and contemplate God’s words with our hearts. The more we practice this the more we will gain the work of the Holy Spirit. Then we will gain something real in our devotionals.
God’s words say, “When you eat and drink the words of God, you must measure the reality of your own state against them. That is, when you discover your shortcomings in the course of your real experience, you must be capable of finding a path to practice, of turning your back on your incorrect motivations and notions. If you always strive for these things and pour your heart into achieving them, then you will have a path to follow, you will not feel empty, and thus you will be able to maintain a normal state. Only then will you be someone who carries a burden in your own life, who has faith.”
God’s words tell us to consider practical problems and difficulties in our devotionals, and to find a path of practice in God’s words. Only this kind of spiritual devotional can achieve good results. However, most of the time, when we do devotions, we flick through the Bible and read it randomly without direction or purpose. As a result, we neither reap nor attain anything real after finishing our devotionals.
We must purposefully read the words of God—we should look for, pray-read and ponder the words of God that are relevant to our difficulties and deficiencies. Doing so helps us understand the truth and resolve problems so that we will have a path of practice in all things and grow in life more quickly.
For example, in our interactions some conflicts and friction will inevitably arise. Most of the time we fixate on others, develop prejudices against them, and are unable to practice tolerance and patience. Then we can look for some words of God to read that relate to this issue. For example, the Lord Jesus said, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3–5). From the Lord’s words we can know that when we have conflict with others, we shouldn’t always fixate on their problems and deficiencies and believe that it is all their fault, rather than focusing on discovering our own problems. We are all human beings who have been corrupted by Satan and are all so arrogant, conceited, selfish and despicable, wanting to have the final word on everything and often engaging in jealous disputes with others for the sake of our own interests. If we don’t understand the problems that lie within ourselves, it is not easy for us to have tolerance and patience with others. We cannot always ask others to change based on our own arrogant and conceited disposition, but instead, we should first know our own problems and practice in accordance with God’s words—only such people are those who bring joy to God. Through contemplating in this way, we will know how to practice to conform with God’s will and will no longer always fixate on others’ faults in our interactions with them in the future. So, we should focus on considering our own practical problems and difficulties in our devotionals. By doing so we will understand and obtain more truth, our spiritual life will yield more and more results, and our relationship with God will draw closer.
We cannot skim through God’s words in our devotionals and be content to understand the surface-level meaning, or else we won’t achieve good results. We have to pray-read and ponder God’s words over and over, for only by practicing in this way can we obtain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, understand the truth in God’s words, and know God’s will. God’s words say, “You must grasp the meaning of God’s word, figure out its root and the outcomes it intends to achieve. God’s word contains truth, meaning, and light. There are many things contained within His word; you can’t just explain its literal meaning.” “The purpose of pondering God’s words is to understand the true meaning behind these words: Through seeking, you will come to know the meaning of God’s utterances, what He requires, and what His will in these words is—this is what it means to understand the reality of the truth. Once you understand the reality of the truth, you will be able to grasp the principles of practice, and so, too, will you attain entry into truth reality. In this way and without being aware of it, you will be enlightened in matters that you did not previously understand, you will gain new insights, and they will gradually become your reality.”
God’s words point out a path of practice for us: When we read God’s words in our devotionals, we should focus on contemplating them to understand why God has spoken these words, which problems God intends to resolve, what is to be understood by us, what results God intends to achieve in us, what God requires of us, how we should specifically practice, and more. When we ponder God’s words with a seeking heart, we will gain God’s enlightenment, understand the reality of truth in God’s words, and know the purpose and will of God in saying these words. After that, we can practice and enter onto the correct path in life. This way, we will become increasingly effective in doing devotions.
For example, the Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7: 21–23). When we see these verses we need to carefully contemplate them: Why did the Lord Jesus say these people who cry out to the Lord cannot enter the kingdom of heaven? Why have those who spread the gospel for the Lord become evildoers and been eliminated by God? What is God warning us about? When we contemplate the Lord’s words with our hearts in this way, we will think about how, although the Pharisees at that time traveled across the oceans to the far corners of the earth to preach and work, they did not put God’s words into practice at all, nor did they adhere to God’s commandments. They totally lacked reverence for God. When the Lord came they were able to resist and condemn Him and even crucify Him, committing the most heinous of sins. This shows that their doing hard work doesn’t mean they were following the will of the heavenly Father. Then we can think of ourselves. If we just focus on running about and expending for the Lord to gain blessings, enter into the kingdom of heaven and be rewarded, rather than for our love of God or to satisfy God, then it is entirely us making deals with God. And some people who have worked and preached for many years never exalt or bear witness to God, but instead they do their utmost to brag about how much work they have done and how much they have suffered to have others admire and look up to them. How could they be called people who do God’s will?
Coming to this realization, we can continue contemplating: What kind of people are those who do the heavenly Father’s will? God says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39). “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). These verses show us that only those who are able to practice in accordance with the requirements of God’s words in all things, obey God no matter how God speaks and works, accept God’s commission and do all things for the sake of loving and satisfying God, and will never sin to resist God, are people who do God’s will. Only such people can earn God’s praise and enter God’s kingdom.
Clearly, if we focus on pondering God’s words in our devotionals, we will easily understand God’s will and find the right goals and direction to pursue. Only in this way can we achieve practical results in our devotionals.
These are the three paths of practice that we have to grasp for our spiritual devotions. As long as we focus on practicing in accordance with these three paths, we’ll gain more enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, our devotionals will yield more and more results, and we’ll grow in life more quickly.
Editor’s Note: At this point in our fellowship, I believe you have found the paths of practice of how to do devotions to achieve good results. If there is anything else you’d like to know, please leave a message below. We will answer any questions you might have.