Holding to a regular, if not daily, commitment to spend time in the Word together as a family is harder and harder to do. If it’s not a scheduling conflict, it’s a cell phone chirping, or a blank stare. We may just decide to give up, thinking it isn’t worth the time and effort. Se la vie.
Can’t we all identify with these feelings? I was recently reminded of how important it is to continue with family devotions when I heard about two young men from different homes who gave testimony about how in the midst of serious self-inflicted troubles God had brought to their minds truths they had learned many years earlier in family devotions. The reminder of these truths was instrumental in their restoration to the Lord and to their families.
Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” God’s word will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it—even if the purpose God has in mind may not be carried out until many years later. That realization should serve as a great encouragement especially on the days when all you see are blank stares and you want to quit.
Lest I be misunderstood: family devotions never transformed anybody. Just like merely going to church doesn’t make someone a Christian. It is always God through his Holy Spirit who creates change in our hearts. Family devotions, though, is a good tool for hearing and applying the Word that the Holy Spirit uses to do his transforming work.
A healthy perspective on family devotions is a long term one. There will be good days, bad days, and skipped days. We cannot waiver after a few bad or missed days. Faithfulness is both an end and a means to that end. God wants his children to live faithful lives which includes countless mountain tops and valleys over a lifetime. God is pleased as we continue seeking him in the valleys and glorifying him on the mountain tops. He reveals himself as faithful through that enduring pattern.
A life-long result will usually only be achieved within a life-long process. When our approach to family devotions is faithful, we can expect that God will do abundantly beyond anything that would ever hope or think (Eph. 3:20). The effect we’re after is long term faithfulness in our children which means keeping at it. When we read the word, discuss it, and apply it we are setting ourselves up for success. Don’t give up!
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