Back in the 1970’s, Olivia Newton John sang a song called, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”. It was a song about the depths of devotion someone had for their love interest, even after their love had been spurned. Most of you are singing it in your head right now—it’s quite a catchy tune! Well, the lyrics of that song got me thinking about that word: devotion. It’s a word with a very deep and powerful meaning. It’s defined as: a strong love or loyalty to a person or cause.
As believers we are called to be devoted to the person and cause of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus says, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” In Mark 12:30, the word strength is added to this command. These profound words, heart, mind, soul, and strength, represent everything we are—a picture of complete devotion. And in the case of a believer’s devotion to Christ, this is not hopeless but hope-full devotion. Our devotion to Christ culminates in the hope of an eternity with Him!
In this life there are many things that vie for our attention and devotion: our job, our reputation, our church, our hobbies, our spouse, our children, etc. All of these things are a part of life, to be sure, but they can also distract us from what (who) should be our primary focus and first love, Jesus Christ.
What does it mean, practically, to be devoted to Christ? Perhaps it means sitting in your quiet place with your Bible open 18 hours a day ruminating on scripture? Or maybe it means being up at the church every time the call is put out for help in some area—tirelessly serving on committees and teaching Bible classes? No, in fact, much of the evidence of devotion to Christ is not even visible to others. Some of the most devoted Christians I know are: behind the scenes prayer warriors, generous (and anonymous) givers to missions and ministries, people who spend time in the Word and in prayer privately crying out to God on behalf of others. Devotion to God is not something that can be measured by the number of hours we volunteer at the local homeless shelter nor the length of our Sunday School attendance pin. (OK, I guess I showed my age there…no such thing as a Sunday School pin anymore or even the term Sunday School!)
The point is: Devotion to God involves more than service hours, singing in the choir, or church attendance. Devotion is measured by our heart attitudes, our motives, our thoughts, our desire to spend time in His Word where we can hear from and commune with Him, expressing our love and adoration. It is measured by the sacrifices we are willing to make of our time, effort, money and comfort—with a joyful heart, expecting nothing in return. Devotion to God is reflected in how we treat our family and friends on a day to day basis. It is measured by how tightly we hold onto the things of this world—a telltale sign of a lack of total devotion to God. Devotion to God means loyalty to him and to His cause. We are not to be blown this way and that by “every wind of doctrine” letting the world determine what is right and true, rather, we stand on the Word of God and let it be the standard to which we rally. That is devotion.
God, and only God, knows if you are truly devoted to Him. Although, devotion to God often shows itself in a believer’s countenance—devoted followers are often more peaceful, contented, effective, consistent (not sin-free, of course).
Step One (in being more devoted to Christ) is spending time in His Word—real quality time. Reduce distractions. Start with prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word and reveal what God is trying to say to you. Praise and thank Him for who he is. Pray that God would give you a new level of devotion to Him. Don’t be surprised if he leads you to let go of some of the things—even good things—that are getting in the way of total devotion to Him. Be prepared to make some changes in the people, places, and things that are in your life.
God loves you and wants your total devotion—he wants all of you. This life is only a blip in time. I have a magnet on my fridge that says, “This life will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Keep that in mind this week as you reevaluate your level of devotion to the one who died for you, ensuring an eternity in the glorious presence of God.