Personal devotion for the busy student — Part 1

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As a kid, I absolutely hated to make my bed. I felt like it was a total waste of time, especially since I would just mess it up again at night.

But because my parents required it, making my bed became a habit.

Now, I can’t start my day without making my bed. It’s a little dose of discipline that helps me start my day with some structure. 

It’s odd how our habits growing up become a part of us as adults. 

That’s the same reason it’s important for us to establish a daily discipline of seeking the Lord through Bible reading and prayer. Whether you call it a quiet time, devotions, or “devos” if you went to youth group in the 2000s, daily meditation on Scripture and communication with God are the non-negotiable parts of growing as a believer. Once they become habit, they become a part of who you are. I’ve found as my personal walk with Christ goes, so does the rest of my life.

Generally speaking, the times I’m most consistently spending time with God are the times I can most consistently see God at work in my life.

Jesus has something to say about this as well, in John 15. As Jesus was teaching the disciples about what was coming regarding his death and their future, he addressed their need to remain close to him with this analogy: 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit… As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:1-5)

The characteristics of the vine are also true of the branches, so long as they remain connected. Fruit in this case refers to spiritual growth and becoming more like Christ. In keeping with the analogy, branches don’t produce fruit on their own, rather it’s the life within the vine — flowing through the branches — that bears fruit. In our case, we abide in Christ through a personal devotional time, namely: talking to God (prayer) and listening to His Word (reading the Bible). 

As a student, there are so many factors vying for your time, but if there’s two things you NEED to do in order to keep your relationship with Christ healthy and growing, it’s reading Scripture and praying.

I’ve gone through undergrad and I’m in a Masters program now, so I know firsthand college schedules get hectic quickly. As a Christ-follower, you cannot afford to let your personal devotion slip to the back burner - especially if you’re in any type of spiritual leadership role. As your personal devotion goes, so does the rest of your life. Bank on it.

I vividly remember the times my schedule has gotten busy and my daily time in prayer was the first thing to go. I’ll let you guess about how long things went until I was burned out, frustrated, irritable, or generally not doing so great…

Apart from me, you can do nothing... 

So how do we setup a daily quiet time? What should it look like? Where do you start? How do you make a habit of praying? In part two, I’ll share some thoughts about how I structure my daily devotional time, and how I made it a part of my daily routine through college. Tons of Christian leaders, pastors, and authors have written on daily devotions, so less about finding the “right” way to do it, and more about finding what works for you and doing it consistently.

When things get tough or busy, I know if I’m doing those two things, reading Scripture and praying, I’m moving in the right direction.

Don’t burn out by being separated from the vine. Make it a habit to seek God and spend time with him daily.