What would my ideal devotions be like? For starters, I would get up at 5:30 am every morning. And I would like it. I wouldn’t need coffee to stay awake. The mere thought of time with the Lord would quicken me more than any caffeine. On summer days I’d sit on the deck, admiring the changing colors of the morning. Of course, I begin with a hymn by Wesley or Watts. Then I’d read at least six chapters, memorize 5 verses, and pray. Then I’d open up Valley of Vision, perhaps Augustine’s Confessions, or an essay by F.W. Boreham. Then I’d pray again. First, focused praise and adoration. I would be undistracted by the day’s chores, my personal wants, or my lack of sleep. Then confession. My confession would never turn my gaze longingly back toward sin. And of course (following the ACTS plan), I’d move on to thanksgiving, first and foremost for who God is—not merely what he’s done for me. My supplications would be focused, consistent, and always selfless. Wife, kids, family, church, work, and so on.
How could such a morning not leave a smile within my heart? When suffering comes, how could I do anything but quote “Blessed Be Your Name”?
Is it possible that we have made the “feeling” of the ideal spiritual life more of the goal than actually becoming like Christ? Is it possible creating the right environment for “devotions" (mood lighting, soft music, a warm cup of coffee) actually contradicts our theology of sanctification.
It seems to me that many of our spiritual practices do not actually begin with our theology of spiritual growth or who are are in Christ. Rather, we approach devotions, time in the Word, quiet time, in the very opposite ways that Paul taught in the book of Colossians. I would like to use Colossians, specifically chapters 2 and 3, as a backdrop against which to evaluate whether or not many of our “spiritual practices” actually line up with our theology.