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Going through seminary, students are taught to study the Bible and uphold its doctrines about God while also being encouraged not to neglect their devotional times with God. Yet during my own devotional time I, and probably many others, often ask, “Is this approach the best way to grow spiritually, or is there a better way? What could I do differently? Should I incorporate my studies with my devotions?”
Each week, I ask a different scholar two questions about how he or she spends time with the Lord and continues to love him with all their mind, strength, and heart. While no one method or style is “the only way,” we can draw on one another’s experiences.
This week, I have asked Dr. Rikk Watts if he would share his thoughts with us.
1. How do you spend your devotional time with the Lord?
2. How do you practically seek to deepen your love for Christ?
Live my life in thankful obedience, deliberately seeing all of creation as a gift and as God’s temple destined for renewal, and all people as made in his image and therefore to be loved and treated with dignity and honor. I try to be present to every moment.
While I have devotional times, I’ve tried to keep my relationship with the Lord real; I.e. I might have regular scheduled meetings with my boss, but that’s not how I relate to my wife or close friends. I’ve tried to pattern both the scheduling and feel of my prayer time along the lines of the latter. Hence, I will often have very meaningful moments of prayer, devotion, and meditation, while walking, on public transport, sitting in a cafe, etc. In this sense my daily devotions happen throughout the day. I have to say this has resulted in a deep sense of the Lord’s very real presence throughout my day. I am also “Pentecostal” in background; though probably more Charismatic, and evangelical (in the UK Anglican tradition) both theologically and culturally; so a combination of thoughtfulness, cultural engagement, theological reflection, and praying in tongues and exercising various gifts is very much a part of my week.
Dr. Watts is the Dean of Theology (2017) at Alphacrucis College. He formerly taught at Regent College for 20 years. He is currently writing a commentary on Mark’s Gospel for the NICNT series. He has also written Isaiah’s New Exodus in Mark and contributed the chapter on Mark’s Gospel in the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.
Thank you, Dr. Watts!