Updated: Apr 25
I believe one of the most overlooked reasons why Christians don't read the Bible is that we don't take into account what I call "devotional temperament." Instead of guilting people into reading the Bible one way (early in the morning and through the Bible in a year) I believe we need to discover the method that best fits our spiritual learning style.
In his book, Invitation to a Journey, author M. Robert Mulholland Jr. refers to “creation gifts”, that is, the unique mix of personality traits given to us by God. His point is that understanding how we’ve been created helps us become more conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.
I think the concept also applies to our devotional lives. We will get more out of our times of Bible reading and prayer, and become more effective at applying God’s Word, if we understand the unique devotional personality God has given each of us. Here are a few I’ve discovered:
Early Birds—these are the classic early morning devotionalists. Their minds are the sharpest and their hearts are the most receptive just as the sun is coming up. They love the routine of starting every day the same way…with God.
Mid-Day Breakers—these devotionalists love to take a few minutes for Bible reading and prayer in the middle of their busy days. For them it’s like an oasis with God that keeps them sane.
Commuter Seekers—these folks have discovered how to transform the boring time on a bus or train into a meeting with God. They also appreciate new technology; digital Bibles and devotionals are perfect for them.
Night Watchers—when the pressure and details of the day finally fall silent, these devotionalists come alive. They love unstructured time with God when everyone else is asleep.
Free Spirits—for these devotionalists, routine is a downer. For them the most important thing is quality time with God, and whenever that’s possible, great!
So…what’s your devotional type? Don’t feel guilty if you’re not an early bird or a free spirit. Spend a few weeks experimenting, asking God to give you insight into how he’s wired you. Then build a lifelong pattern based on your unique devotional personality.