Sometimes, devotions are great.
You sit down with your Bible (and coffee, if that’s your thing) as morning light filters through the window and read a few chapters or dig deep into one passage. You write out the beautiful, powerful truths you’re learning in your journal. You spend time in prayer, praising God for his goodness, overflowing with thankfulness and dependence on him.
Other times, you don’t even want to have devotions in the first place.
Maybe you feel spiritually dry, or just apathetic. You don’t have a desire for God and his Word, and you’d much rather sleep in or spend the time looking at your phone. You sit in front of your Bible distracted and restless, while the coffee gets cold and the clock ticks forward.
If you’re trying to follow God and seek him in his word, you’ve probably been here. I have. Sometimes it feels like praying and reading or studying your Bible is useless. Why should I bother? I have ten thousand other things I need to do today.
But, counterintuitive as it seems, praying and spending time in God’s Word is exactly what you need to do—especially when you don’t feel like it. Here are three truths to encourage you in your pursuit of Christ right now.
1. Your Feelings Are Not Facts
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Our emotions are a gift from God. They allow us to live in this world he’s given us, enjoying and loving the beautiful, appropriately fearing the dangerous, grieving the tragic and the broken, and even being angry at the unjust and evil. They ought to conform to reality—but they don’t define it.
Because we’re sinful, and our minds and hearts suffer the effects of the fall, our emotions are out of sync with reality. Just because you don’t feel like spending time with the Lord doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Just because you feel distant from God doesn’t mean he’s not near. Just because you don’t feel any joy when you read his Word doesn’t mean it’s not working.
“While feelings are wonderful servants, they are terrible gods.” We should seek to master our feelings, not let them master us. However, this is impossible on our own. It can only happen in the power of God.
2. God Is the One Working
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that, as we read and study God’s Word, we’re the ones doing all the work. That we carry the entire burden of our own sanctification. But in the verse above, Paul specifically says it’s God who is working in us. Apart from him, we’re helpless.
Please understand, I’m not trying to negate our own responsibility in sanctification. In fact, in the verse just before this one, Paul instructs us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). But this is only possible because God is the one working in us.
He is working in you—even when you can’t see it. He is using his Word in your heart—even when you can’t feel it.
So sit down with your Bible. Read, study, pray. And trust that, even though you feel dry right now, God is working.
3. You Can’t Love What You Don’t Know
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In Psalm 119, the psalmist over and over proclaims his love for God’s Word. It’s his delight, his hope, his strength, and his comfort. He seems to love nothing more.
Reading this chapter is convicting—how many of us really love God’s Word that way? Even at the best of times, we often don’t come close to that level of dependence and delight.
So how do we get there? How do we develop that kind of love for God and his Word? It’s not a magical process. You’re not going to wake up one morning suddenly burning with desire for the Scripture. It’s slow and gradual. And it starts with looking.
It’s like a friendship. The more time you spend with a good friend, the more you love them. The more you’re around them, the more you want to be around them. It’s the same with God’s Word. The more time we spend there, the more we’ll want to spend time there. As we behold his glory, we become more like him (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The best way to grow (or recover) your love for God’s Word is to read it. Study it. And pray. Because ultimately, we’re not the ones who give the growth. “This comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” God is capable of transforming our hearts’ affections—and he will do it. So come to him and plead for his help.
Then sit down and open your Bible.