Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hopelessly Devoted

Photo by dbgg1979
What Does "Devotion" Mean To You?

When you think of someone being devoted to something, what do you think of? For me, I often think of athletes. Athletes get up extremely early in order to train, and then they continue to train their bodies at set times during the day. They have specific workout regimines that they undergo. They tear down their bodies in order to build them back up, stronger than they were before. They eat special diets that give them the best fuel for peak performance and don't turn them into fatties. They spend thousands of dollars on equipment, dietary supplements, and training so that they can perform at a high level.

Professional musicians are much the same way. They practice for hours a day in a practice room. They spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on musical equipment and teachers. They devote themselves to a rigorous schedule based on their passion for music.

People who are truly devoted to something are willing to sacrifice. They've got major "skin in the game." They have invested enormous amounts of time, energy, and money into their true passions. The interesting thing to note, though, is that because of their passion, they don't really consider it that big of a sacrifice. They love it so much that they are willing to put in whatever time, energy, and money is needed to for the cause.

The Early Church Was A Devoted Bunch

In Acts 2:42-46, we read the following regarding the devotion of new believers in the early church:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude...
The word "devoted" is used two times in this passage and carries the idea to persevere, to be constantly diligent, to give self continually, to continue steadfastly. When you're this kind of devoted to a cause, there's no going back. You have committed yourself for the long haul. You are diligently working to be a part of something bigger than yourself. When things get a little difficult or challenging, you don't immediately through in the towel. You just "keep on keeping on."

Devoted To Our Faith In 2012

In my church this year, we're undergoing a kind of "get back to basics" approach in the entire church body. We are reading through the Bible in a year. We are praying for specific prayer requests each day. We are encouraging the body of Christ to serve and to give at a greater level than ever before.

So, why are we doing all of this? We are challenging our congregation to grow in their relationship with God. Too many times, I fear that churches never push their members to develop as believers. There is more to being a part of a local church then just showing up to church occassionally on Sundays, throwing a buck or two in the offering plate, and then going out to lunch with your friends afterward. Our faith is about growing in a relationship with our Lord.

Where are you at, at the beginning of this new year? Have you given any thought to developing as a Christian in 2012? Have you committed yourself to working through the fundamentals of your faith such as Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, serving, and giving? May all of us who claim the name of Christ be as committed as those Christians who were a part of the first church body.

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