How to Move from Morning Devotions to Movemental Devotion

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Colossians 3:1–2

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

CONSIDER THIS

Can we grapple a bit together today? I want us to honestly ask ourselves and one another how we do this?

[S]et your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (vv. 1b–2)

Is reading a couple of devotional entries a day supposed to do this for us? Is this a matter of thinking about Jesus for a few minutes every morning? If I’m honest, and I look at my own life, that’s what it comes down to. Sure, I think about Jesus throughout the day. I pray without ceasing sometimes, but Colossians 3:1–2 seems to be asking for something a bit more comprehensive and engaging.

I have written before about the Christian life being much more about receptivity than activity, and I stand by that. The life hid with Christ in God is not about amping up our activity but deepening our receptivity. So, what does receptivity look like? It surely must mean more than a few minutes of reading spiritual things and thinking about Jesus. Receptivity looks like this:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:1–2)

I think athletes get this more than the average person does. Athletes have a pregame routine they stick to with religious fervor. It is completely embodied with physical, mental, spiritual, and social elements. Watch a professional golfer in their pre-shot ritual. Observe the consistency of a field-goal kicker on the football field prior to the kick. Note the idiosyncratic and even superstitious gestures of a baseball pitcher before every single pitch. The best athletes are distinguished by their ability to wed a type of meditative, futuristic visualization with a preprogrammed form of  muscle memory to reach extraordinary levels of performance and achievement.

There’s a word that captures this kind of focus: devotion. I think the insight my grappling is leading me to is the following: we have traded devotion for devotions. I’m afraid we’ve gotten a lot better at delighting ourselves with restful morning devotions than we are at the movemental discipline of rigorous devotion.

Maybe it’s time we took a break from our morning devotions and came up with something more like a pregame warm-up, or a pre-day ritual. Maybe we are doing the right kinds of motions, but we need to re-connect them to the movement again. It’s about resetting our hearts and minds. What if we thought of our day as the game and our schedule as the field of faith? What would it mean to peer through the lens of our calendar at the ascended Lord Jesus Christ?

When the Holy Spirit calls you to “set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God,” and to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things,” he’s not asking if you did morning devotions. No, he’s calling us to another plane of devotion.

That’s Domino #3/1, Focus.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, in whose life we see pure devotion. Come, Holy Spirit, and awaken me to the thinness of my devotions, and awaken me to fix my gaze on the Devoted One, that I might learn to become like him. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. How about it? Are your devotions leading to devotion, or are they just more devotions?
  2. What’s your pregame/pre-day warm-up look like?
  3. How does this call to set your minds and hearts on things above challenge you today? How will you respond? What experiment in devotion will you try today?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. JD, each morning after a time of meditation and prayer, I view the Daily Text in an effort to center my thoughts concerning my relationship with my Lord. I seek to be challenged and to rethink where I am on my faith journey. Many times I’m amazed at how relevant today’s devotional really is to my current location. I also am encouraged by some of the other responses that are given. In this season of constant chaos and uncertainty, I find it comforting to find that there are other believers out there that have similar thoughts. I deeply appreciate the time you spend in creating and maintaining this ministry. I feel that I can trust that what you’ve shared from God’s word can be trusted and therefore have recommended this site to several of my friends. The Daily Text is more than just a devotional to me, it’s a big part of how I try to stay focused on Christ and his Church, despite all the distractions that Satan is constantly sending my way.

  2. 1) I don’t set aside a special time to spend with the Lord or to do formal “devotions.” Instead, I seek to keep my heart continually set “on things above” and to listen to and interact with the living Jesus throughout the day, no matter what I’m doing. I try not to exclude Him from any of my activities or thoughts but to make Him Lord of all of them. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” There’s no “on-off switch” with God!

    2) If you focus on continually being led by the Spirit and keeping your spiritual engine running 24/7/365 (even in your sleep), there’s no need for a pregame warm-up. I’ve read the Bible with an open heart almost every day for decades. (I might miss a day or two a year.) For me, Bible reading isn’t a special time of devotion to spend with the Lord, but a continuation of the time I spend with Him day and night.

    3) To “set your heart on things above” means to stay continually online with the living Jesus–to keep conscious connection with Him going throughout the day as long as we’re physically awake. We need a devotional lifestyle, not just a time set aside for morning devotions. A practical example of a devotional lifestyle is demonstrated in the autobiographical book, “The Way of The Pilgrim.” In that book an anonymous Russian tells about his attempts and experiments in trying to “pray without ceasing” as he wandered across parts of what are today Ukraine and Russia. His goal was to repeat the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner,” over and over until it began to automatically repeat in his heart throughout the day. His efforts and experiments to continually focus on the living Jesus were amazing! That book had and continues to have a mighty impact on my life! I say the Jesus prayer often and it is one of the things that helps me keep my focus on Jesus.

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