How to Move From From Morning Devotions to Movemental Devotion

October 30, 2017

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. 2 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?

set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

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. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 

I think athletes get this more than the average person. Athletes have a pre-game 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 pre-programmed 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 pre-game warmup, 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 re-setting 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. 2 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.

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 pre-game/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?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. John Wesley’s “A Collection of Forms of Prayer For Every Day In the Week” have ramped up my devotion time to a whole other level. Here is the first paragraph from the prayer for Monday Morning which is two pages long!

    General Questions, which may used every morning.
    Did I think of God first and last?
    Have I examined myself how I have behaved since last night’s retirement?
    Am I resolved to do all the good I can this day and to be diligent in the business of my calling?

    O God, who art the giver of all good gifts, I thy unworthy servant entirely desire to praise thy name for all the expressions of thy bounty towards me. Blessed by thy love for giving thy son to die for our sins, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. Blessed by thy love for all the temporal benefits which thou hast with a liberal hand poured out upon me; for my health and strength, food and raiment, and all other necessaries with which thou hast provided thy sinful servant. I also bless thee that, after all my refusals or thy grace, thou still hast patience with me, hast preserved me this night, and given me yet another day to renew and perfect my repentance. Pardon, good Lord, all my former sins, and make me every day more zealous and diligent to improve every opportunity of building up my soul in thy faith, and love, and obedience. Make thyself always present to my mind, and let thy love fill and rule my soul, in all those places, and companies, and employments to which thou callest me this day. In all my passage through this world, suffer not my heart to be set upon it; but always fix my single eye and my undivided affection on “the prize of my high calling”. This one thing let me do; let me so press toward this, as to make all things else minister unto it; and be careful so to use them, as thereby to fit my soul for that pure bliss which thou has prepared for those that love thee.

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