As the year comes to close, many of you are probably considering a Bible reading plan and there are many out there. Others might be considering if they should read a daily devotional. Like Bible reading plans, there are many good daily devotionals out there. The question we should consider is should we read one.
I personally don't think there anything wrong with reading a daily devotional yet there are things to consider when we consider a daily devotional. First, will it take the place of daily Bible reading. No book even a daily devotional should take the place of God's Word. As Charles Spurgeon once said, "Visit many books, but stay in the Bible." Most devotionals comes with Scripture but that does not mean you should take it as your daily Bible reading. Also, these devotionals are not inspired like the Bible, so don't take it as God's Word.
Second, are you willing to be flexible? There are going to be days you will miss your daily devotional reading no matter what the case is. The same can be said for daily Bible reading. If you are on a structured Bible reading plan and you miss a day, you might want to play catch up to stay on track. With a daily devotional, you can probably do the same thing, but that depends on how Bible reading you have done.
Third, who wrote it and what does it communicate. As I said there are many good daily devotionals out there, but there are some you might want to stay away from. When considering a devotional, see what it is suppose to communicate to the reader. If others have read it, get their thoughts. Find some reviews on the devotionals whether on Amazon or a blog.
Finally, what is your purpose? Are your reading it to gain more understanding or encouragement. Daily devotionals are not the Bible and we should not treat them that way. However, they are good tools that can be used to help us grow in our walk with Jesus. Daily devotionals are meant to be an aid not a lamp as the Bible (see Psalm 119:105). Is your purpose to honor God or show everyone how spiritual you are.
Now some of you may ask, does it make me more of a Christian to read one or less of one if I don't. The answer is no. As I mentioned, daily devotionals should not take the place of daily Bible reading. If you read big chunks of the Bible, then maybe reading a daily devotional might not be the best thing for you. However, if you are a heavy reader, maybe it will a challenge for you.
Case in point, reading a daily devotional is a freedom in Christ issue. There are concerns you must approach every devotional because there are some that are just fluff and won't help you grow. If you are considering one, talk with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Seek the advice of your elders.
Are there some good devotionals I can recommend? Yes, there are. These recommendations are based on my own reading and what others have recommended:
The Songs of Jesus by Tim Keller
New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp
Holiness Day By Day by Jerry Bridges
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
Valley of Vision may not be a daily devotional, but it is worth reading. Joe Thorn has a wonderful guide to take through the book that you read over and over again.