“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.“ - 1 John 3:16-18. This is true devotion. As a church, a culture, and the world, in general, we talk a lot about love and little about devotion. Devotion is the deeper side of love – it is the action. It is the “want to.” When we are devoted to something or someone, we want to be in it. To be present and work toward something greater together … and will ultimately give our lives for it.
Martin Luther King was devoted to the Civil Rights movement. Mother Teresa was devoted to caring for the sick and the poor. Abraham Lincoln was devoted to ending slavery. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were devoted to women’s rights to vote. These are only a few historical figures that influenced our world through their devotion. What they were doing was not about them. Devotion is when we love with our whole being, putting our needs behind the greater need. As Christ-followers we are basically saying to God, “Whatever you want, whatever you desire, whatever you need, whatever you want to do in me and through me, I am yours,” that is what devotion is. We are set apart to serve God, to serve His kingdom, and to help fulfill His desires. Ultimately, our devotion is not about us. Our love for God and others is not about us. It is about Him. It is for His glory and His recognition and His praise, so that He gets all the attention in our lives. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”
Our devotion to Christ shows up in how we long to be in His presence more than anything else. Then and out of our devotion is this desire to love others, to make a difference in the world that we live in. Anyone can say that they love … but the best indicator of the reality and depth of their love is in what they actually do. Love is more than words; love is sacrifice and action – it is devotion. Devotion is laying down your life and giving of yourself to benefit someone else. It is what Jesus did for us. Let us do that for others!
THIS WEEK: Seek to grow in your love and devotion to God. Remember that God looks at our hearts before He looks at our hands. He wants our devotion, our deep longing to spend time with him. Spend time each day in His presence. Sing worship songs, read God’s word, and meditate on how much you are loved. Then allow that overflow of love be the catalyst for helping others. Our world needs us.