Devotion is defined in Webster’s Dictionary: a feeling of strong love or loyalty; the quality of being devoted; the use of time, money, energy, etc., for a particular purpose; prayer, worship, or other religious activities that are done in private rather than in a religious service.
Webster’s adds the use of devotion can be seen as “his or her courage and devotion to duty never wavered.” Synonyms include: faithfulness, fidelity, affection, constancy, and closeness.
Another way to consider devotion is in relation to our religious observance. “The aim of Chi Alpha missionaries is to live a life of devotion.” That kind of life should be practiced with piety, sanctity, and devotedness.
I had a seminary professor who talked to our class one day about the concept of slow-grow. He presented the idea that God calls us out of darkness into the Light of His Kingdom. Growth into Christ-likeness requires light, good soil, water, a host of nutrients, and regular care-taking. The idea of real devotion is it is our responsibility to cooperate with God in our own growth so we can attain the maturity He designed us for. Growth is slow and steady. It is our journey’s end.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians (chapter 4:14-16) and said, “No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”
Read Mark 1:35.
Jesus shows us from His own life how he cultivated a life of devotion. Amidst a busy season of ministry, He regularly pulled away from various tasks awaiting him to be alone with the Father. He shows us the necessity of silence and solitude in order to recharge and replenish Himself. Jesus enjoyed the closeness of being with His Father. We should too.
The apostle Paul faced some pretty nasty conditions. Shipwrecks, flogging, no sleep, little food (see more in 2 Corinthians 11:22-28). He did not have an easy life. Yet Paul thrived. He learned a lot through the difficulties that he encountered. His life and words became enriched in the understanding of God and His ways. Paul’s faith deepened and trust abounded because he stayed devoted to Jesus even in tough times. Paul realized that there was much to learn from the suffering, silence, and solitude that came from hardship.
We will grow up in Christ not only through our consistent and dedicated efforts to get alone with God, but also as we submit to His processes. As we, like Paul, face the harsh winds and bitter events of life, we can emerge more like Jesus. He learned obedience through suffering. As we persevere through tough times by trusting in God, our faith and character will deepen and mature and our life will be enriched.
Grow devotionally. Purpose to grow steadily in the midst of life’s often harsh conditions by constantly putting yourself in place and space to be with God. Slow-grow is for the devoted.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz