Daily Devotionals: A Transformative Practice

I’ve been writing daily devotionals for Willow Creek Community Church for several years now and it is the most meaningful part of my job. While it’s true that I get to use my spiritual gifts, which is enjoyable in and of itself, I write the devotionals because I believe that when we make time to read the Bible every day as a way of meeting with God, our lives will be changed and we will become more like Jesus Christ. If you’ve read the devotionals before, you know they don’t look like most of the devotionals out there. The ones I write are question-based and I write them the way I do because sitting in God’s presence with the questions that arise in me as I read the Bible has been the most formative spiritual practice in my life.

My spiritual journey began with a question. I wrote it in the margin of my brand-new Bible in 2005: “Why don’t I have faith?” At that time, I was a trial lawyer at a big law firm in downtown Chicago and I had and did all the things that define a “successful life.” On the inside, though, I was a complete mess. Loneliness and emptiness are the feelings I remember most about the years 2003–2008. But now I can see that during those years, I was on a desperate search to discover who I was and whether I was worthy of being loved.

When I wrote, “Why don’t I have faith?” it wasn’t an intellectual question. It was more like a cry for help. I had written it next to Romans 12:3, which says: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” If the Bible was true (and at this point I didn’t know if it was or not), and God had given each person some amount of faith, why hadn’t I received any? Without knowing it, my question began what would become the most transformative spiritual practice of my life—asking questions that arise within me when I read the Bible and sitting with those questions in God’s presence not as a way to receive answers, but as a way to be changed. In other words, I wasn’t really seeking an answer to why I didn’t have faith. What I was seeking was to know God, to believe Him, and to trust Him—to have faith. Over a period of three years, that was my ongoing question. And then, in November 2008, upon a friend’s recommendation, I stepped alone into Willow Creek (having not gone to church in at least 20 years), and God found me. On December 20, 2008, I exercised faith for the first time, and decided to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.

God has used this practice of asking questions to show me who He is and allow me to see myself more clearly, break patterns of sin, grow in forgiveness and love, and join His work in the world. Most days, I’m walking around with a question in my heart and mind that arose during my time reading Scripture that morning. I’d love to invite you into this daily practice of asking sacred questions. It has been transformative and life-giving for me and I think it can be for you too. Asking sacred questions opens a holy dialogue with the loving, ever-present God who is at once holding all things together and dwelling within you. We all long for space to listen to God and open ourselves to His love and yet we often either fail to make the time or are unsure about how to do it. Jesus calls us to come to Him in our weariness, with our burned-out selves, and our broken hearts. He calls to us in our greatest triumphs and in our most devastating mistakes. And yet in our busyness, brokenness, pain, quest for the next new thing, or just the fullness of life, we resist this invitation.

My prayer is that the devotionals will help you to respond to and return to Jesus’ invitation and that on a daily basis, you can enter into a holy space in which you become attuned to Jesus’ voice as he encourages, loves, trains, comforts, heals, and challenges you in order to transform you to become more and more like Him.

You can sign up here and start receiving the daily devotionals I’ll be writing for the Reset series. They’ll begin Monday, January 15 and will run five days a week throughout the series. I can’t wait to see all God does in and through us as we open ourselves to Him through the Scriptures.

 

 

by Kellye Fabian

Director of Resources & Experiences | Discipleship

Willow Creek Community Church

facebook.com/momentsofthesoul

kellyefabian.com

[email protected]

 

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