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“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Jesus commands us to seek first the kingdom of God. So do we? Do we really seek the things of the kingdom first and above all else? How many times have we been asked this question directly or indirectly: “How is your devotional life?” How many times have we given a not so clear and honest answer? We do it all the time, attempting to take the pressure off a now exposed and raw nerve. Why does this question bother us so much? It may be because our spirit is starving for intimacy with God and screaming out in agony to our conscience which has become hard of hearing. If someone calling us out or challenging us about the priority we place on our personal devotional time makes us recoil because of pain that it causes, then there is without question something terribly wrong. A few years ago my oldest son and I were sitting in a exam room with our family doctor. My son was explaining to him the pain he had been experiencing with an activity he was doing, to which the doctor said, “Well, Josh you may want to stop doing that.” As we all laughed together for a moment, Josh then asked, “Are you serious?” He was. The reality that pain is a good thing sunk in deep in for both of us. He explained, “If it hurts something is wrong, it is a God-created warning system.” Every night, when possible, we have family dinner together. All electronics are off and we are not allowed to talk about anything tech related. This took us all a few months to learn to talk about more than Facebook, X-Box games or the latest Marvel movie trailer. After we’re all at the table and the talk about our day starts to come to an end, I ask this simple question, “What did the Lord speak to you this morning in your devotion time?” Most days, there will be at least one head hung low in uncomfortable shame, humbly responding to the reality that there is nowhere to hide from the question. The inquiry is meant in sincere love and yet at the time, can seem uncomfortable to the one not prepared to give a public and positive answer.  One day my youngest asked, “Could you ask me any other question, please?” to which I replied, “No.” I went on to explain that the question was not meant to hurt but to help. To keep each of us accountable, and that also included his parents. He liked the part about Mom and Dad. We need to be responsible to, and allow others to ask us about our time in the Word each day because we are all accountable to God. Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”(Romans 14:12,13) We call them “personal devotion times” or “our quiet time” and we all seem to want to keep it that way, personal and quiet. Yet without accountability, how can we know our personal devotion time is being daily attended to and fruitful? I have discovered I don’t mind the question so much if I’m choosing to be accountable to others so I can be accountable to God. Please do not fall into the trap and the lie that the only person affected by our devotional time is us. Our personal time seeking God, or a lack of the same, has an enormous impact on us, as well as others around us. When we are in a right relationship with the Lord, we’ll be in a right relationship with others. For example, I have never, not one time, asked a struggling teen or married couple in crises about their personal devotion lives in counseling and had them say it was wonderful and rich. Most of the time, their heads hang in shame as they admit to not having one. Hey gang, coming to church on Sunday and Wednesday is not enough! We need to be in the Word of God every day, and most days, more than just once. Many of us struggle with the flesh. Why? We are disconnected from the daily spiritual renewal and nourishment we need. If we only ate food on Sunday morning and Wednesday evenings what would our physical condition be after a few months and what if those meals where full of junk food?!  We would start to die, would we not? Do we understand what devotion means for the believer in Jesus Christ? To most of the world, it is defined as prayer or religious observances, yet for us it must be our love, enthusiasm and loyalty to the person of Jesus Christ. The Psalmist proclaimed, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:4-5)

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