When I think of the word devotion, my first thoughts stray to Olivia Newton John singing, crooning really, her song to John Travolta in Grease. She looks longingly, even pained, in her heart’s dedication to a guy named Danny, whom she met on the beach and hoped she would meet him again, as he was that summer. The story is a pitiful comparison to our devotion to God–so I think hopelessly is a good title for her song.
But when I think of my own devotion to God, sometimes it is a “cross-my-fingers” hopefully devoted. I wish I were devoted to God, but I am only human and of course I am pulled along by every wave of the sea, like I cannot help myself. It’s an excuse, and I know it.
So do I pull myself up by the bootstraps and discipline myself to devotion to God?
Do I steep myself in God-things and hope that devotion will follow?
Do I hang out with devoted people–maybe just maybe I will be like them?
Or is devotion a natural overspill from something else, something more. And how do I find that? Is it something I can learn and do and eventually BE?
These are questions that I ask myself. And these are ALL things I have tried…
It is interesting to study the word devotion or devoted. In the old testament many of the uses of the word devoted involve being devoted to something other than God–idolatry and destruction–and to put away those things before they went to war or did anything else. Their commitment, their whole selves, must be to God and God alone. His Truth still stands.
In the new testament, devotion is more described in the way of life they choose–devoted to God or devoted to money, for you cannot serve two masters. He knows we cannot go both directions. And once the trajectory is committed to, the path is what they (we) will follow. They devoted themselves to prayer. They devoted themselves to service–to every good work. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. Then in the book of Hebrews, the devoted life springs from the fact that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is unchanging…so why is it that they were (we are) always looking for something new and fresh to be devoted to–a higher level of life? As if walking with God, the Holy Spirit inside us, is not enough. His Truth still stands.
Ah, we make it too hard. When it is not hard at all! It is a steeped life for sure. But the complications involved are ALL our own. We must become like little children–pure and sincere devotion is something that is not attained or found. It springs from within–from trust in Who God is and a seekers’ heart to know Him more. It gushes forth without shame! We run to God with our arms open wide and we embrace fully our own place with Him, as His very own, beloved sons and daughters.
I could tie my hope to a million things right this second–but all of those things are not forever nor are they utterly reliable. The ONE forever and faithful I have is God. And out of such gratefulness and love for Him, I tie my hope to Jesus alone. Devoted. Forever.
“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.” Jeremiah 2:2