“Devotion” “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else - I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations”. – Elizabeth II “I have moved from certainty to doubt, from devotion to rebellion. “ – Phil Donahue “I never force myself to be devout except when I feel so inspired, and never compose hymns of prayers unless I feel within me real and true devotion.” – Franz Schubert “I'm a very hard-line, angry atheist. Yet I am fascinated by the concept of devotion.” – Joss Whedon “I'm quite sure that most writers would sustain real poetry if they could, but it takes devotion and talent.” – Marguerite Young “Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things. “ –Robert Louis Stevenson “Sacrifices are concerned with the feelings of devotion and longing.” – Xun Zi +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Devotion Commitment to something we care about deeply. Wholehearted service to our life’s purpose. +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Grace is in Greek Charis (χαρις). which literally means "that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, Being devoted is part of our design as human beings. It is something that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. Devotion — which simply means giving of your time and resources to a cause or relationship — is an essential component to achieving your highest destiny. We all devote ourselves to things that provide momentary significance in our personal relationships and professional lives. Academic pursuits, hobbies, philanthropy, self-help interests and building good relationships are all worthwhile things to become devoted to. But in order to find lasting significance and discover life at the highest level, you need to be devoted to God. That’s because devotion to God is where you’ll find your purpose and develop a real passion for life in a new manner. It is how we absorb His love into our heart, develop His wisdom, and find courage, integrity and strength to rise up and live an amazing life. While it may sound complex, being devoted to God is simply about building a relationship with Him and finding ways to honour Him in our daily life. We do this by spending time in prayer, reading His word and seeking His wisdom. Simple as it is, when we do this we are tapping into an amazingly powerful source that will leave us astonished. Suddenly, answers to our problems are found, and we discover new opportunities and enjoy a sense of peace like never before. Here are a few quick thoughts about being devoted: 1. Devotion is about absorbing the power of God into our lives. If we want the power of God flowing into our lives, spend time in devotion. Prayer is the best place to start. Tell Him about our fears, the emotions we struggle with, and the promotions we desire. Ask Him for inner peace and wisdom. Admit when you’re low on courage or struggling with your integrity. And don’t forget to ask for His blessing. Next, spend time reading His Word and be ready for the solution. You’ll be amazed at how strongholds loosen and opportunities come available when you’re devoted. 2. Prayer will revolutionize your life. There isn’t anything as powerful as prayer to protect your heart and create the life of your dreams. In fact, prayer is the only way to stay passionate throughout life. Prayer is not a passive activity where you ask God and then sit back and wait for a miracle. Rather, it is about building within you the wisdom, courage and passion to move the mountains and achieve the destiny God has planned for you. 3. God’s will for your life is unimaginably wonderful. Some people resist being devoted to God because they fear His will is contrary to their own desires. They mistakenly think being devoted to God means living a dull life. But nothing could be farther from the truth. God’s will is beyond your wildest dreams and is about having the best in life. 4. Make it your aim to fill your heart with God. Pray for the blessing of God upon your children, your life and your marriage. Devote the beginning of each day to God, asking for wisdom, courage or whatever else you need to find happiness, peace, health and prosperity. Stay connected to Him throughout the day and build a dependence on Him for wisdom, guidance and love. When you become devoted to God, you absorb His love into your heart and find the courage, passion and wisdom to speak to mountains in your life. Doors of opportunity open up and things just start to click when you’ve got a devoted heart. Being Devoted to God and Being Devoted To One Another Romans 12 points to the importance of being devoted to “one another” responsibility. In verse 10, Paul encourages his readers to be devoted to one another. Devotion is a fairly difficult word to define but we know it when we see it. We see it in the way good parents care for their children. We see it in good marriages. We see it in the way that grown children care for their elderly parents. While it is true that one might be devoted to a cause or a job, devotion is more clearly seen and understood correctly in connection to human beings. It is interesting that Paul’s word for devotion here literally means “family love.” In fact, two different words for love are used in this verse. Literally Paul asked them to have family love for one another in a brotherly love kind of way. Devotion to Paul is all wrapped up in love. If you are devoted to one another, if you have a real sense of family love towards others, then you live your life differently. You are concerned about the needs of those you love. You treasure them as members of your family. You willingly surrender yourself to their service. You are dedicated to doing the very best for them. You honor and respect those to whom you are devoted and you willingly share what you have. There is intensity in active devotion that must not be missed. Devotion is an overwhelming desire for the good of other people. It is not just saying the word “love” but it is acting in a loving way consistently. It is everything Paul wrote about in the great love chapter, I Corinthians 13. It is resilient and it is dependable. We are called by Paul to love intensely from our hearts. We are called to actively pursue a life of love. We are called to offer ourselves in service to others. We are called to family love! We are called to the same kind of devotion that brought Jesus to the earth to live here and die here. Being devoted to one another in brotherly love is a commitment that never has a stopping point. Read: Romans 12:9-11; I Corinthians 13 Consider 1. Is there a difference between being devoted to a job or a cause and being devoted to one another? How are they different? 2. Which of the descriptions of love in I Corinthians 13 have to do with devotion? 3. Describe the ways in which Jesus is devoted to us. How is that devotion shown to us. Things that keep us from being devoted…Be DEVOTED not DISTRACTED There are, I believe at least 3 things that keep us distracted from God and not surprisingly it didn’t take me very long to come up with them because I’m guilty of all three. 1) I don’t have the time. a. Busyness of life - We so often bog ourselves down with too much action…We become so busy with life that we have no time or energy to even be devoted to God. We can make a conscious effort to uncomplicate our life. One could do this by looking at the things that keep you preoccupied and distracted from you devotion to God. b. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not being any need (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) 2) I don’t care. a. Apathy creeps into our life. b. Church of Laodocia in Revelation was warned because you’re neither hot nor cold I’m going to spit you out of my mouth 3) I don’t have the desire. a. Other things in life become more appealing and it comes down to choices we make, would I rather be watching a video or praying…watching a video. b. Entertainment c. Gadgets d. Good life Take some time and do some self evaluation. Where do you stand when it comes to your devotion? Where does your practical every day devotion lie? Would someone who knows your prayer life describe it as persevering? Actions speak louder than words. Can you say that yes, I am just like this early church; I persistently, continually am devoting myself to these basics of the faith. Or are you somewhere in between? A little off track and need to do some reorganization of priorities in life to get back on track. Or maybe you are just way off track, apathetic to the things of God, just going through the motions. If you’re off track, talk to someone. The thing that keeps us in our ruts most often is our stubbornness to keep up the act. Talk to someone you are close to, share your struggles, talk to your spouse, talk to your friends, talk to your leaders, but that is a great first step.