Please believe I am not bragging when I say that for many years now, people from all over the world have found the Messianic devotionals I have written to be helpful and inspiring for their daily walk in Yeshua. I give all glory and praise to Adonai for this, because whatever encouragement or insight I have to offer, it is only because I have gained it (usually the hard way!) by His loving and compassionate hand.
Yet, I mention this not to call attention to myself or the character of the devotionals, but to point out the fact that we as believers in Yeshua primarily seek information and inspiration for one purpose: self-edification. While I am personally pleased that my writings have been edifying for so many, the purpose of the devotionals (as well as everything produced through Perfect Word) has never been for self-edification, but always for discipleship—the means by which we first become edified, then multiply that edification by passing it on to others. This, however, is not the way most of us approach a “devotional” or any other kind of spiritual experience—rather, it is generally with the intent to focus ourselves on the Master and increase our devotion to Him.
Such goals are in no way wrong. On the contrary, in a world that is constantly trying to steal our focus away from God, we need to use every means possible to keep our hearts and minds dedicated and devoted to Him. Where we do go wrong, however, is that we tend to stop there, feeding only ourselves, and forgetting the most important reason to increase our own devotion: everyone else. Indeed, the walk we walk in Messiah is ultimately not for our own benefit; rather, “Let no one seek [good for] himself, but each [one for] another’s.” (1Co. 10:24)
It is because of this Scriptural imperative that, when I write a devotional, I think of it not merely as a devotional, but rather as a “disciplnal.” (Completely awkward, yes, I know. It will never catch on—but, hey, it works for me.) By seeing through this lens, it helps me to stay focused on why I am not writing the devotionals, in the hopes that they will yield the desired result when someone else is reading them. In other words, it is not my goal to offer a few inspiring but fleeting moments of spiritual stimulation or encouragement, but to provide a tool by which others will be discipled and therefore equipped to turn around and make more Yeshua-disciples of their own.
That said, I am not naïve enough to think that the few minutes it takes to read one of my devotionals is sufficient to make a disciple. What I do believe, however, is that the content of the devotionals (which, of course, is based on and includes Scripture), coupled with their consistent, daily reading and devotional reflection, is likely to have a measurable, lasting effect. By the time you reach the end of one of the devotional books, a change in thinking and behavior will have been imparted to you. Suddenly, you have become a link in an unbreakable chain, participating in an ancient tradition engraved on the template of Scripture: when “in person” is not possible, the life of Messiah may be passed on from writer to recipient. And indeed, it is discipleship.
So even though I may not be able to physically sit across the lunch table from you, pouring my daily walk and passion for the Scriptures into your life, my hope is that through the devotionals, the “inspiration” you receive will motivate you to not hoard the life of Messiah for yourself, but to zealously give it away to someone else. Maybe it’s someone from your congregation, your neighborhood, or workplace—perhaps even someone in your own home. Whoever it is, if you have received in discipleship, then in discipleship you are equipped to give.
I want to encourage you to begin thinking beyond the boundaries of yourself, and invite someone else to share in your secret place. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover just how much you have to give… and how much you will be edified by giving yourself away.