New Year, New Approach to Daily Devotions
Are you tired of reading the same devotional books every year? Are you looking for a fresh approach to your spiritual life in 2020 and beyond? Would you like a new way to spark breakthrough ideas that ignite real spiritual change? If so, perhaps you should start using inspired questions to guide your daily devotions, meditations, and prayers.
What are Inspired Questions?
Inspired questions are the ones already found in the Bible. Do you remember all the questions God asked Job? Do you recall Queen Sheba traveling far to ask Solomon questions? Have you ever noticed how often Jesus asked questions or how frequently others asked Him something? Have you ever surveyed all of Paul’s inquiries in his writings?
Indeed, questions are numerically significant in Scripture, even if often overlooked. The New Testament alone contains almost a thousand questions, and the Old Testament has several thousand more. That means, you could ask yourself a new question from Scripture every day for the next decade or so and never see the same one.
How Can We Use Them For Our Daily Devotions?
As we intentionally focus on the Scriptures, which reveal Jesus’s power, presence, ministry, words, deeds, miracles, and wisdom, we should also give concerted attention to the very questions the Holy Spirit inspired for us to read and consider. They provide us with a great springboard to dive into the deep issues that God has preserved in His Word. Indeed, the Bible often challenges us with questions that we might not otherwise think to ask ourselves. When we honestly respond to these questions, they help us identify where opportunities lie for our growth.
One way to unleash this potential in our devotional lives is to ask ourselves an inspired question every day. Think about it. By allowing God’s Word to interrogate us daily, the questions will lead us into further conversation with God after we finish meditating on them. We will experience an intimate communion with God—fostering an atmosphere of trust, transparency, and belonging.
Not only that, but inspired questions help us identify the right problems and best answers. Once we understand what others are asking us as followers of Christ, we will be better equipped to disciple others. And given that the inspired questions can often be answered in multiple ways, they will carry us through all the phases and stages of our lives. Indeed, we should never stop asking and answering these questions. They should remain in our devotional toolkit and spiritual medicine cabinet.
Therefore, start by picking one to examine each day. This is the easy part. Chose a question that relates to a topic you are wanting to address in your life—parenting, marriage, vocation, fellowship, time management, leadership, finances. Or simply select a character or book in the Bible and chronologically engage each question that surfaces.
For instance, say you are reading the Book of Galatians, and you come to chapter 3. It opens with this inspired question: “Who has bewitched you?” As you grapple with the question in context, direct it to yourself and meditate on it. Are you bewitched? Has someone put you under his or her spell? According to the Apostle Paul, it does not take a witch to bewitch you. When you fall under any evil influence, you can be lured away from God into false doctrine, worldliness, or sin. Therefore, you must stay very close to your Shepherd. Listen to His voice in His Word and call for Him when you stray. Remain with His flock by remaining active in a local church. Beware of wolves, especially those in sheep’s clothing. Follow Jesus closely. Read the Bible daily. Pray regularly. Participate in church faithfully. Evaluate your friends and teachers carefully. Don’t be bewitched!
A Whole New Perspective
Some of my favorite devotional literature include, The Valley of Vision, The Imitation of Christ, and Morning and Evening. Perhaps you can think of others that you would have on your list if you were to compile one, such as New Morning Mercies, My Utmost for His Highest, or Streams in the Desert.
Each work has its own style and features, as well as its own strengths and weaknesses. Some of them use the common “verse-a-day” structure. Others seek to capture a topic, word, or principle from a passage. Still, others offer their own insightful stories and questions to help readers reflect on God’s love and care each day. One tool that has been missing overall, however, is inspired questions.
Inspired questions can inspire a turnaround in your situation and even completely change your life. Inspired questions offer an excellent way for new believers to orient themselves to Christianity, and for mature believers to deepen their walks and increase their ministry effectiveness.
Soaking in these questions increases our biblical knowledge. They inspire us to action. They foster a more intimate relationship with God. They allow us to see the same situation from a new angle, and in doing so, allow us to make better decisions.
If asking the right questions is at the heart of discovery, then asking inspired questions should be at the heart of our daily devotions. By God’s grace, questioning—deeply, genuinely, consistently—from the Holy Scriptures can help us identify and solve spiritual problems, come up with godly solutions, and pursue fresh opportunities by means of the Holy Spirit.
There are many more benefits to using inspired questions for our daily devotions. But the bottom line for us here is this: there are no dumb inspired questions. So don’t be afraid to ask and answer them this next year and beyond.
[Editor’s Note: This article draws from Brian’s new 365-day devotional, Inspired Questions: A Year’s Journey Through the New Testament (Christian Focus, 2019).]
About the Contributors
Brian J. Wright
Brian J. Wright earned his ThM from DTS and a PhD from Ridley College (in Melbourne, Australia). His pastoral and academic work have been featured on several Christian media networks, such as Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and Power for Living. Brian serves full-time in pastoral ministry as a church planter and pastor, and also teaches part-time at various universities and seminaries. He and his wife, Daniella, live in Pensacola, FL, with their five children.