"How could I know, that everything you said are lies about devotion and desire?"
Devotion is a word that I think has gotten really hard to define in recent years, we all have this loosely defined idea of commitment that we tie in with devotion but my question is are we ever doing "devotion" enough justice?
Merriam-Webster online gives us the following definition:
Definition of DEVOTION1 a : religious fervor : piety
b : an act of prayer or private worship —usually used in plural
c : a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation
2 a : the act of devoting
b : the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal
The words I want to focus on in the above definition are words like "fervor", "Worship" and "ardently dedicated"
We can clearly see that the truest definition of devotion is something far beyond just a commitment but more like a lifestyle choice, a dedication that makes the thing you are devoted to a part of who you are and how you make you decisions on a daily basis.
I also want to take a look at what Scripture says about being devoted.
Paul says we should live with "undivided devotion" (1 Cor 7:35)
He says "don't be lazy in showing your devotion" (Rom. 12:11)
He tells Titus we should live with "wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God"
these are merely a few scriptures which use the word devotion, but to see true devotion, I want to examine one of Jesus' sayings
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 (ESV)
We must first identify that a common Jewish metaphor is being used here by Jesus, the same man who commands us to "Love our enemies" is not now teaching us to "Hate our family"
We can trace this back to the story of Esau and Jacob. In Malachi 1 God tells the prophet:
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
What God is saying here is not that he hated Esau in the sense of personally despising him, but when compared to the blessings and calling of Jacob to be the father of Israel and the beginning of the nation which would bring the messiah into the world.
So when we go back to Jesus' saying and use Malachi 1 as context we can see that Jesus is not commanding us to hate anyone, but rather is telling us that our love and devotion to Him should be so great, it should be so clear and focused that it is as if we hate everything else in our lives.
Is anything in your life so important that everything else looks hated in comparison to it? Are you so dedicated to anything, that it is by far the most important thing in your life and even more important than your life itself?
Most people have no problem with small commitments... "I'll meet you Saturday" "We'll catch the game together" etc....
Some people are even ok with bigger commitments like marriage, contractual agreements with employers or landlords, or even the cable company for that matter. But as we can see these commitments are mostly "empty promises" as more than half of marriages end in divorce, contracts are continually broken leading to lawsuits and broken relationships, and lots of people stop paying their cable bill :)
How could we know, that everything we said were lies, about devotion and desire?
It's because we know nothing about true devotion, many Christians float through life thinking that what you "believe" is the important thing, and what you "do" is secondary, they refuse to accept the biblical notion that what you believe IS what you do, they think that saying they love Jesus is the same as actually loving Him, they think that believing the things their church believes is the same as following the commandments of Christ, this could not be farther from the truth, and the Bible will tell you why this is.
In John 14:15 Jesus says this: "If you love me, keep my commands. "
Probably the most simple yet profound portion of scripture I've ever come across, Jesus says "do you love me?" and gives us a foolproof way to determine if we are lying or not.....if WE KEEP HIS COMMANDS.
Are you keeping Jesus' commands? then you truly love him
Are you sinning everyday all day? then by default you hate Jesus
These are the words of Jesus himself, loving Him COMES WITH obeying Him, you CANNOT do one without the other
the book of James takes this even deeper for us he says that "faith without works is dead!"
a faith without works is NOT a saving faith, regardless of what the Calvinist or partial Calvinist will tell you, workless faith, is faithless faith, it is not a biblical faith and it will not save you from anything.
What does this have to do with devotion?
if you are devoted to something you are DOING something about it and if you are not doing something about it, then you are not devoted.
God should be the thing you are most devoted to, we've clearly shown this, and devotion to God looks like keeping His commands, if you are not doing that then you are not devoted and your faith is dead.
This also applies to every other aspect of your life, work, exercise, relationships and any other healthy thing in your life.
If you are devoted to these things you will DO SOMETHING to make yourself better, to make yourself more wise, to become a better friend, etc...
If you merely "wish you were" better or healthier or more of a friend, then you are NOT devoted to these things and are lying to yourself, devotion makes it way out in action
Devotion - action = stagnancy
Devotion + action = change
Jesus says it clearly: "If you love me, DO what I command" He doesn't say believe what I command, or wish you could do what I command, or think what I command is good, but He says DO what I command!!
Why are you still reading? GO DO SOMETHING :)