"And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41–42
Like Martha, it is very easy for us to get so carried away with work that we forget to take time to commune with the Lord. However, no matter how pressing a schedule we may have, we should not allow ourselves to be deprived of times to commune with our God, through Bible study, meditation and Prayer. For communion with God helps (1) to keep us “sweet” under pressure. (2) To turn the “mundane” tasks of life into high service for the Master. (3) To keep us focused on the things that ought to be done and not be burnt out by unnecessary burdens (Luke 10:41).
Taking time to “sit at the feet of Jesus” is that “one thing that is necessary”; or that “good part” that Jesus said, “would not be taken away from [Mary]” (Luke 10:42 margin). Based on the experience of Mary and Martha (in Luke 10:39-42), Jesus teaches that it is very easy for our “work for the Lord” to be filled with selfishness and pride, if we do not take time to talk to God and maintain our connection with Him.
Here are a few suggestions concerning the steps that should be taken to maintain a consistent devotional life:
- Make it a priority by having a specific time and place for devotions and do not allow any other activity to crowd out that time.
- Let it be the first major thing you do each day. It doesn’t take much to forget to pray, when your mind is focused on other things.
- Practice to have personal devotions both mornings and evenings. Not only should you start the day with God but close the day with Him to help maintain a healthy spiritual relationship.
- Go to bed early, so that you can rise early enough to have your devotions before other things begin to compete for your attention.
- Have a plan as to the format of your devotion. For example, let your Bible reading be focused on a book of the Bible each time as opposed to having random readings each morning. Also, know and practice various patterns of prayer i.e. ACTS—Adoration; Confession; Thanksgiving; Supplication) or follow the pattern of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’.
- Get involved in some missionary or evangelistic activity. Ministering to others is one of the greatest impetus to a good devotional life. According to E.G. White, “He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray, or his prayers will become a formal routine.”2
- Practice to have your devotions every day, even when you don’t “feel” like. This is one habit that will not “fall in your lap”. It does take hard work to maintain a consistent devotional life. But the hard work does pay-off in the end.
- Do not cherish any known sin in your life. For “the heart that harbors known sin cannot get into close touch with God.” (Alone with God, 62). “If prayer does not drive sin out of your life, sin will drive prayer out.”
1 Steps to Christ, pg. 94
2 Ibid, pg. 101