Devotion is not prayer, regardless of how it is done, private or public, neither is it time spent in reading some favorite devotional, or a certain time set aside on Sunday after church; but it is rather a life given to God. So, who is a devoted person? It is that person who considers God in everything he or she does; their whole life being a devotion to God by doing everything in His name and to His glory.
We can certainly acknowledge that we should be devoted in our prayer life. Now, is there any reason why we should be devoted in our prayer life and not in every other part of our life? No! Therefore, any direction that our life takes in business, any use of our leisure time, our talents, and our money that is not strictly in accordance with the will of God is as ridiculous and useless as saying a prayer to be heard or seen by men. There is no other reason that our prayers should be pleasing to God than that we may live unto God, in all aspects of life, in the same spirit that we pray to Him. If it wasn’t our duty to devote everything that our eyes see, our ears hear, the clothes we wear, the words we speak, the work we do, the money we spend, or any other action to God, there would be nothing good, wise, or efficient in offering up the most Heavenly prayers.
I believe that it is for this cause that we see so much confusion in the lives of professing Christians. You observe them keeping strict routines of times and places as to buildings of worship and fellowship, but as soon as the service is over they are like those who never attend. The pattern of their life is heathenish with a little Sunday worship thrown in. In the way they spend their money, their time, their dress, with fears and cares of the world, in their pleasures and entertainment, and in their work they are no different than the rest of the world. The laughing of the world towards Christians is a reflection of the fact that their devotion goes no further than their occasional prayers.
Truthfully, can anything be more ridiculous than intelligent, inspiring, and heavenly prayer being added to a life of which there is no intention of reverencing God in modesty of dress, giving of money, abstaining from alcohol and illicit sex, computer games and sports, deviant entertainment, or shady business practices. If you were to meet a man who was very religious in every respect but confessed that he never prayed to God, wouldn’t you be suspect of this person’s Christian witness? On the other hand, if a person prays with consistency both at Church, at home, and in public, but the rest of his life is as heathenish as any other person who has absolutely no regard for God at all, would you not be amazed that he professes to be a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus? Wouldn’t you agree that one is as irrational and strange as the other?
Here is an interesting Biblical fact; there is not one command in the entire New Testament instituting public worship. But, on the other hand, the Gospels and the Epistles are entirely about how we should live everyday life. Their teachings guide us in how to differentiate between what is holy and what is profane. They instruct us to be different in every attitude and way of life from the spirit and way of the world; to renounce the world’s goods, to fear none of its evils, to reject its joys and ways of happiness; to be as innocent as doves; to live as pilgrims and strangers; to be always watchful and wary of temptations; to take up our cross and follow Jesus; to deny ourselves, to mourn and seek a poverty of spirit, to forsake vanity and pride, to be humble and meek, to rejoice in our sufferings, to reject the lust of the flesh and of the eye, to bear injury and forgive, to overcome evil with good, and to bless our enemies and not judge them. Is it not interesting then that so much emphasis is placed on attendance at public worship – and yet people neglect and preachers disregard the common duties of every Christian that are mentioned on every page of the New Testament?
Glenn Christopherson an Australian Christian friend of mine had this to say about Sunday morning worship.
“This may come as a shock to some…”
“When the Apostle said, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrew 10:25), he was not saying make sure you attend the 10 o’clock service every Sunday. This verse is so much more powerful than that, not to mention there were no 10 o’clock services to show up at when this was written.”
So you can see that devotion is so much more than what we have been led to think or believe. We toss the word around much too casually as just another word in the genre of religious babble. God means so much more when He demands devotion of His children.
If contempt for the temporal and devotion to the eternal are necessary attitudes for the Christian, then it is necessary that these attitudes appear in in the whole course of our lives. If self-denial is a condition of salvation then everyone who would be saved must make self-denial a part of their everyday life; and the same is true concerning humility, honesty, chastity, temperance, love, and a host of other virtues.
Does the Christian life sound hard? Yes, it is hard, and that is why we have the Church; it is an effort that takes a complete body of many able and healthy parts working together for the success of the whole, all operating with the Spirit of God. The Bible says, “Strive to enter in through the narrow gate, for many will try, but fail” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” “Strait is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.” “Pursue peace and holiness without which no man will see the Lord.” These things were not written to scare us, they were written because they are true, and for that reason we should have a certain level of Godly fear. As a compass is useless without a magnetic north to cause it to work properly, so also Godly fear should be our magnetic north that keeps us always vigilant to “obey everything He has commanded us.”
Read Romans 12:1 and meditate on Paul’s words, and let devotion to God be the new rule of your life.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.