From Salt Shakers-the magazine of the youth of Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church, Singapore.
COVENANT LIFE AND
OUR DAILY DEVOTIONS
Elisa Boon is a confessing young adult in CERC.
How often do we do our personal devotions? Do we do it in a rush? Do we do it grudgingly
and only because our parents force us to do it? Are our hearts in it? Do we give priority
to our personal devotions over all our other daily activities? The Oxford dictionary deﬁnes
“devotion” to be love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person or activity. Our personal devotions
should hence stem from our love for God and always be placed in ﬁrst priority.
Do we display love, loyalty, and enthusiasm when it comes to spending time
with God daily? Let us be reminded of how important daily devotions are in
our Covenant Life with God and may we be encouraged to spend time with God
in prayer and the reading of His Word daily.
According to Prof. Engelsma, the Covenant of God with His elect is a unique
relationship of intimate fellowship in mutual love. And this intimate relation of
friendship is established in our Lord Jesus Christ. God reveals this in Scripture,
saying, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” (Jeremiah 7:23)
And in Jeremiah 31:33, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with
the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their
inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall
be my people.” God claims us as His people and as His children we are called
to keep this Covenant by living out the Truth of the Covenant. This can be
done in so many ways, for example, obeying God’s commandments,
and living antithetically in marriage and in the institution of the home.
However, in this article, we will focus on how we can keep the Covenant by
doing our daily devotions.
Covenant Life and Daily Devotions
What is vital in maintaining relationships with your friends, parents,
and those that you love? Communication, isn’t it? It is only through
continuous perseverance and patience in communication that we
discover what the other party likes or dislikes, what their personality is like,
and what their desires are— among many other things. It requires
communication to form a close and intimate friendship between two
parties. This is the same for the relationship we have with God.
In order to have a Covenant life with God, communication with God is key.
God communicates with us through the preaching of His Word in the Bible,
and through our daily prayers and devotions. But the most intimate
and personal means of communication we have with God is through
our devotions and prayers. It is only through personal devotions that we get
to share our unique needs, struggles and thanksgiving with our Covenant Friend.
At the same time, we learn of His will for us through the Scriptures.
Personal devotions are also a great Covenantal privilege!When we do our
devotions, we enter into the presence of Jehovah to listen to Him speak to us
through the reading of His Word (Psa 119:9, 105), and we also speak to Him
through our prayers. This is indeed a Covenantal blessing! There are many
verses in the Bible that exhort us to do our devotions! Daily devotions should
generally consist of at least two parts: prayer to God and the reading of Scripture.
The following two paragraphs show proof from the Bible about praying
and reading God’s Word respectively.
These verses exhort us to be always praying and always talking with our
Covenant Friend. By praying, we are walking with God and will enjoy
the blessings of Covenant Life, just like Enoch did. (Genesis 5:22)
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought
always to pray, and not to faint; Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always,
that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass,
and to stand before the Son of man. Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope;
patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Other verses include Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.
b) Reading God’s Word
First, we want to read God’s Word because His Word is a lamp unto
our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). His Word reveals
His way for us and guides our footsteps as we journey as pilgrims.
Just as it would be foolishness for a traveller not to seek counsel from maps,
it will be foolishness for a child of God not to seek God’s will in the Scriptures.
Second, God’s Word is a weapon for His children in the midst of this
wicked world—it is the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17)
Daily devotions prepare us for the daily battles we face with the devil;
not doing our devotions would be akin to going to the battleﬁeld unarmed!
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said,
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a
young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Other verses include Act 17:11, Isaiah 34:16, and Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
We can also learn from many godly men in the bible who showed such
devotion for doing their devotions (pun intended) and enjoyed the fruits
of this Covenantal exercise. Look at David who prayed three times a day
and always sought after God (Psalm 55:17; 63:1,6), Daniel who continued
to pray and worship God despite threats to his life (Daniel 6:10),
Job who esteemed the words of God more than food for his body (Job 23:12)
and Jesus who set the example for His disciples and followers by making prayer
and devotions His priority and
exhorted them to do the same (Mark 1:35; Matthew 6:6).
Today, there are many attacks of the devil targeted at this Covenant Life
we have with God. The message of the world is to live life to the fullest,
to pursue material wealth and highﬂying careers, to seek fun and all sorts
of worldly entertainment so much so that the wonderful Truth and the
importance of the Covenant is pushed to a dark corner of a youth’s
closet and forgotten. As Christian youth, we must be vigilant and not fall into the
devil’s temptations which lead us away from the blessedness of keeping
God’s Covenant. Applying this speciﬁcally to daily devotions, let us
beware of spiritual laziness. A spiritually lazy youth neglects his prayers and the
reading of God’s Word; he lacks appreciation for the Truth and takes it for granted.
A spiritually lazy generation would be detrimental to the church and even the
denomination becauseapostasy begins with spiritual laziness! This is so
because he would choose worldly entertainment or the pursuit of worldly goals over
reading God’s Word and prayer. He will then lack a good understanding of Scripture,
which will allow false doctrines to creep into the church easily.
My fellow youth, when we plan our week’s or day’s activities, let us consider these:
“Will I have enough quiet time alone to meditate on God’s Word?
Does playing computer games or watching the television edify my soul?
Can I put some of these things away and spend more time cultivating the
Covenantal relationship I have with my Covenant Friend? Am I just giving
excuses when I say that I do not have time for God?” May we be encouraged
that there is much spiritual proﬁt in doing our devotions and how it adds to the
blessedness of the Covenant Life we have with God. All the attempts we
make to read God’s Word and develop spiritually will surely be rewarded by
God’s grace. Through devotions, the reality of God’s grace and love for us
will become more apparent; and when God’s Word becomes more precious to us,
we will have a much deeper comfort and security as we live as pilgrims in this world.
Let us press on in keeping the Covenant through doing our daily devotions,
and be comforted by the spiritual proﬁt we will have as shown in Proverbs 13:4,
“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the
diligent shall be made fat.”
Salt Shakers | Love for God’s Word