Way back when I was a young whipper-snapper and in school, every morning we had devotions. We had a small Christian school at our church. We would gather every morning and recite the pledges (to the American flag, The Christian flag, and the Bible), read our monthly Scripture passage, and pray. This is what we called devotions. It was time taken at the beginning of the day to exemplify our loyalty to our God, His word, and our country. I thank God for those moments! Although, we didn’t understand what was happening then, I definitely see it now. I have no doubt in my mind that the passages of scripture that I committed to memory during those moments have helped me keep up the fight when I thought about giving in. When I would think about calling it quits for good I would always remember Psalm 23, Psalm 1, Psalm 34 or Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Webster’s dictionary defines devotion as a feeling of strong love or loyalty; the quality of being devoted; the use of time, money, energy, etc., for a particular purpose
When you devote something for a purpose or cause, that thing becomes useless for anything else. If Nascar called and said, “We want to use your car as the Pace Car for the Daytona 500.” How many people are going to get in that car and drive it anywhere? A BIG, FAT ZERO! You won’t drive it, your spouse won’t drive it, your kids won’t drive it, and as a matter of fact you wouldn’t let your own mamma drive it to pick up her medication from the drugstore! That car is parked for the duration of time leading up to the Daytona 500. That car gets washed more, waxed more, tires shined, motor cleaned and upgraded, and guarded like the National Armory of the United States, all because it is now devoted to being the Pace Car for the Daytona 500.
“WE GO TO CHURCH ONCE A WEEK ON SUNDAY AND CALL THAT DEVOTION. WE GET UP, SPEND 5 MINUTES SAYING A CANNED PRAYER AND READ A COUPLE OF PAGES OUT OF BOOK AND CALL THAT DEVOTION. “
If this is our idea of devotion we don’t have a clue, and I am preaching to the choir, the preachers, the worship leaders, the pew setters, the pew jumpers, the aisle runners and myself included! We have downgraded the devotional standard to better suit our lifestyles. When Jesus walks up to us and says, “Follow Me” we can’t lug around the net and follow Him. We have to lay aside every weight and sin that easily entangles us and run with patience the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Now, what I’m not saying is that you become a monk and run off to the Himalayas. You don’t have to quit your job, divorce your spouse, and live every day of the rest of your life in seclusion. God wants you in the world. He wants you planted dead smack in the middle of the different cultures of this world. He wants you there because He wants to use you to change those cultures. We have been given an unshakable Kingdom (Hebrews 12:28) and when the unshakable Kingdom shows up through us in the culture, the culture begins to to reveal its shakiness. All of the sudden every culture that can be shaken will be shaken all because God was able to plant His sons and daughters, who carry the unshakable Kingdom, in the middle of a jacked up culture.
But none of this happens without complete and total, sold-out devotion. Ellen G. White said, “We do not belong to Christ unless we are His wholly. It is by half-heartedness in the Christian life that men become feeble in purpose and changeable in desire.” If everything we do isn’t saturated with the presence of God from a place of deep devotion then we aren’t “His wholly.” We are trying to follow God from a distance and distant followers make poor listeners. Distant, halfhearted followers are feeble in purpose because they don’t spend enough time in the presence of Jesus, hearing His words, and being filled with the knowledge of His will (Colossians 1:9). They are changeable in desire because the desire of their heart isn’t Jesus. Jesus hasn’t become the “one thing” in their life. When there is a singleness of the eye there is the ability to focus. When Jesus becomes your focal point and single desire then you have an unshakable, unchangeable desire. So when the culture around you starts falling apart and shaking you have the assurance of being a house built on the Rock!
So don’t diminish the devotional standard because it conflicts with your lifestyle. Sit at the feet of Jesus, spend time with Him, let His words fill you and transform you. The culture wants to put you in a mold and force you to conform, but Jesus is offering you the opportunity to be uniquely transformed! He wants you to be set apart and different!