I’m perplexed and disappointed when I hear Christians demand a daily devotional time like it’s the 11th Commandment. Please don’t misunderstand me. I heartily agree that private Bible study, prayer, and worship are essential to Christian growth.
However, we must remember a few things:
1) reading the Bible shouldn’t be a “check that off the list” activity
2) the privilege of owning a personal Bible is a relatively recent phenomenon (in fact, the early Church read and discussed Scripture together, not privately)
3) thinking about God’s word and enjoying His promises throughout the day is infinitely superior to simply reading the words on a page.
With this in mind, I appreciated the following thoughts:
That half hour every morning of Scriptural study and prayer is not actually commanded in the Bible.
As a theologian, I can remind us that to bind the conscience where Scripture leaves freedom is a very, very serious crime. It’s legalism rearing its ugly little head again. We’ve become legalistic about a legalistic command. This is serious.
your relationship with God–or, as I prefer to say, God’s relationship with you–is your whole life: your job, your family, your sleep, your play, your relationships, your driving, your everything. The real irony here is that we’ve become accustomed to pigeonholing our entire relationship with God into a brief devotional exercise that is not even commanded in the Bible.
-“Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt” (emphasis mine)
So what, then, does Scripture command? It commands that the Word of God be constantly upon your heart. You are to pray, to read the Scripture and to meditate upon it, but you are to do so from a joyful desire, and not mere performance-based duty. You are to do so throughout your whole life, and not merely for a few minutes each morning. Like Johnson, you will come to realize that the “goal isn’t that we pray and read the Bible less, but that we do so more–and with a free and needy heart.”
(via Challies Dot Com)