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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. Edward (Mickey) Klink III if he would share his thoughts with us.
1. How do you spend your devotional time with the Lord?
My time in Scripture varies. In some seasons I work through books in great detail; in other seasons I read larger sections of Scripture. I also spend time praying weekly for specific people and situations in both my personal life and in my ministry. For example, as one of the elders in my church, I have an assigned list of members for whom I am honored to pray for each Monday specifically. I also try to do prayer walks, read devotional or God-centered books (old and new) that ground me in the gospel, and have spiritual conversations with key people in my life.
It is important for me to note (and suggest to others) that my devotional life is not entirely personal and private, as we often speak of it. This is true in two ways. First, my devotional life includes my biological family – my wife and three children. My family regularly prays together, ministers together, discusses issues related to the gospel and its relevance to areas of life, and studies God’s Word and truth together. For example, currently we are working through “The New City Catechism,” where I read the weekly question and my kids (ages 13, 11, and 7) answer the question (eventually by memory) and we discuss its truth and implications together. We actually write the question and answer on a board on our wall beside our kitchen table so we can daily ruminate on a specific aspect of Christian truth and life together.
Second, my devotional life includes my church family – Hope Evangelical Free Church in Roscoe, Illinois. As a Christian I am a member of this church where I sit under its authority and shepherding care, where I share in God’s Word and apply it to my life – specifically in my weekly small group, and where I live out my Christian life in ministry and service. To think that I can have a devotional life without my church would be to ignore the major emphasis of the New Testament’s depiction of the corporate nature of the Christian life and our devotion to Christ.
2. How do you practically seek to deepen your love for Christ?
In light of the above comments, I try to deepen my love for Christ by participating in my church’s focus on and worship of Christ, by thinking deeply and personally with my family about Christ and our need of him in every area of life, by reading contemporary and former (usually former!) authors who direct me to understand and grasp the person and work of Christ, and by seeking to make Christ the true satisfier of my body and soul.
Dr. Mickey Klink, formerly professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology, is the senior pastor at Hope Church in Roscoe, IL. He has written a commentary on John (ZECNT), Understanding Biblical Theology, and The Sheep of the Fold: The Audience and Origin of the Gospel of John.