Devoted…We all have the capability of being devoted, but we often struggle to keep our hearts devoted to any particular thing. It is easy to be committed to a person or a cause when there is passion driving you. But what happens when the passion dissipates? Will your devotion remain? Trials can make a once devoted wife quickly lose her devotion to her husband. With every passing battle, she becomes more distant and indifferent.
Devotion consist of you focusing all of your efforts and attention on the object of your devotion. You will commit a significant amount of time loving and raising your children when you are a devoted mother. A man devoted to his profession will spend a considerable amount of time and energy to be successful in his respective field.
We can be devoted to many things in this life. As believers, our most important devotion is to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61
In 1 Kings 8, King Solomon had just brought the ark of the covenant into the newly built temple of the Lord. He blessed the Lord because of it and then proceeded to give a prayer to dedicate the temple. He concluded his prayer with a benediction and called for the children of Israel to be wholly devoted to the LORD their God.
This call was not solely for the children of Israel, but it’s for the saints of today as well. As followers of Christ, our hearts should be wholly devoted to the Lord. The Lord should have access to ALL of our hearts and not just portions of it. We can’t afford to give 60% of our hearts to Jesus and keep the other 40% to ourselves. Often we do this and think it is enough to please the Lord. But scripture tells us to love the Lord with ALL of our heart, ALL of our soul, and ALL of our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). When we withhold parts of ourselves from the Lord, intentionally or unintentionally, are we loving him with all of who we are? We are not, and this results in us giving the Lord a half-hearted devotion.
The Lord is calling us to do away with a divided devotion and commit to being wholly devoted to him.
How do we devote ourselves to the Lord?
Before we can devote ourselves to anything or anybody, I believe we first have to deem it as something worthy of our devotion. You will not give yourself over to anything you think is not worth your time and affection. As a mom, I deem my children worthy of my time, love, and affection. I don’t mind spending my time and energy on loving, disciplining, and training them in the way of Christ. I became a devoted mother by deeming my children worthy of my devotion and making a decision after that. My devotion for my children just didn’t come because I became a mother. There are plenty of women in this world who have given birth to children they are not devoted to. My devotion came because I saw my children as worthy and then decided in my heart to devote myself to them.
Believers can apply this same logic to their lives. We first have to deem Jesus as worthy of our devotion before we give him our whole hearts. We have to see the Lord as the greatest treasure on earth and in heaven. We should want to utter the words of Asaph to the Lord and genuinely mean it,
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” Psalm 73:25.
To devote yourself to the Lord begins with a decision. And to keep your heart devoted to Jesus requires you to continue to make decisions that support that devotion. Once you see the Lord as the greatest treasure you could ever possess, you can then make the heart decision to devote yourself wholly to him.
Devotion begins and continues with a heart decision. You and I are to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, and our actions will follow that decision.
What are we devoting ourselves to?
When you decide to devote yourself to the Lord, you are choosing to buy in. You are giving Jesus your whole heart, which encompasses your entire life. The Lord gets your full attention, all of your affections, and you are pouring yourself into the things of Christ.
If you want to know if you are wholly devoted to the Lord, look at your schedule. Our schedules give us an idea of where our devotion lies. Where are you investing your time? When we are wholly devoted to the Lord, we will give our time to the things that will aid us in actually keeping our devotion to the Lord. Things such as prayer, being devoted to the brethren, and good works. Let’s look at each one of these in more detail.
1. Being Devoted to Prayer
Because we are devoted to God, we will be devoted to prayer. Being devoted to prayer is not us praying for two minutes a day and checking it off our list. When you are devoted to something, you are steadfastly attentive to it. We give ourselves over to a life of prayer when our hearts are wholly devoted to the Lord. Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”
2. Being Devoted to Other Believers
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10).
You and I shouldn’t run the race of life alone. We should run it in community with other believers. We are to love, submit, and devote ourselves to one another. When we are devoted to the Lord, our hearts reach upward to the Lord and out to the believers around us. A heart that is wholly devoted to the Lord will also be devoted to other brothers/sisters in Christ.
3. Being Devoted to Every Good Work
“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” Titus 3:8
Every believer should be devoted to good works. Our good works do not save us, but a heart that has totally surrendered to the Lord should express good works to testify of the redemptive work done in that heart. We should not be ok with doing good works sporadically. Good works should characterize our lives. We were created “in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). If we are wholly devoted to Christ, we ought to be careful to devote ourselves to good works as well.
These three areas are not exhaustive by any means, but we can see that our devotion to the Lord consists of our devotion to activities that point the world to Christ.
What hinders our devotion?
There can be several reasons we withhold our devotion from the Lord, but I think one of the main reasons we withhold our devotion is our choice not to give our trust entirely to a God we cannot see.
Mistrust hinders our wholehearted devotion to the Lord.
We hold parts of ourselves back because we don’t trust that it will be safe in the Lord’s hand. We put our trust in ourselves or other idols because we trust in these things more than in the One who is truly trustworthy. The Lord is worthy, and we can trust him with our whole lives. I can give the Lord my whole heart because He won’t break it or abuse it. Jesus won’t take my devotion and put me to shame with it. He will instead receive my devotion and honor me because of it.
We can look at natural relationships to see how trust plays out in our actions. When you meet a stranger, you typically don’t tell them all of your deep dark secrets, do you? No, you probably don’t. This is because you don’t trust them with that information. You limit the information you divulge to a stranger because of a trust barrier. Now, what about a close friend? You may give a little more information to them depending on how trustworthy you see them to be. What about a spouse? If your spouse is your best friend and closest confidant, your heart would ideally be open to them because you trust them with it. You will be willing to be vulnerable with them because you trust that they will do right by you.
Trust allows your heart to be open, while mistrust closes it. If you have trust issues in your natural relationships, you may have trust issues with your heavenly Father. Mistrust with the Lord will result in a half-hearted devotion. If your heart does not belong to him all the way, then something else has part of your devotion. It is up to us not to allow idols to be erected in our hearts, causing our devotion to be divided. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” My heart can’t serve two masters. Your heart can’t serve two masters. It will only be devoted to one and despise the other. We have to choose who will get our devotion. May we give it to the One who is truly deserving of it.
Look To the Father
The beautiful thing about being in relationship with our God is that we can look to him as an example. God is never unfaithful to us. No matter how many times we are unfaithful to him, his love and devotion remain constant towards us. Our God chooses not to hold himself back from you and me. He doesn’t withhold his love or forgiveness. God doesn’t withhold his grace or his mercy from us. He didn’t even withhold his Son. What an awesome God we serve!
The Lord is wholly devoted to us as his children, and that should motivate us to return the same devotion to him. The Father modeled what it looks like to be devoted to a people who constantly allowed idols to redirect their devotion away from Him. Instead of being people who continuously break their devotion towards God, let us make every effort to faithfully and joyfully devote ourselves to God. Let us not withhold any part of ourselves from the Lord. May our hearts be wholly devoted to the Lord because he is worthy, and deserving, of our devotion.
“Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day” 1 Kings 8:61.
- Would you consider your heart being wholly devoted to the Lord? If not, what steps can you take to get you to that place?
- Can you relate to mistrust being a hindrance in your life? Why is it hard for you to trust the Lord? What areas of your life are hard to place in his hands?
- I only listed three expressions of our devotions (prayer, other believers, and good works). Are you able to come up with any more? Look through scripture to see what else you can find.