Today we find so many people to whom folks are devoted–passionately, fervently, zealously devoted. They’re devoted to leaders, pastors, friends, families and celebrities. They’re devoted to viewpoints, doctrines, theologies and principles. They’re devoted to churches, denominations, parties, and establishments. They’re devoted to causes– poverty, hunger and epidemics. The list is endless.
“Devotion to a cause is the great mark of our day, and in religion it means being devoted to the application of religious principles. A disciple of Jesus Christ is devoted to a Person, not to a principle….There is a difference between devotion to a principle and devotion to a person. Hundreds of people today are devoting themselves to phases of truth–to causes. Jesus Christ never asks us to devote ourselves to a cause or a creed; He asks us to devote ourselves to Him, to sign away the right to ourselves and yield to Him absolutely.” Oswald Chambers.
Sometimes we try to develop a ministry to reach certain folks, and find our efforts foiled. Sometimes we struggle in our churches to motivate, to inspire and still fail to spur folks on toward love and good deeds. Is it possible our focus is amiss? Do we truly love Jesus? Do we truly believe He is working in our lives? If Jesus is not the motivating force within us, then our words will ring hollow.
When our efforts fail, could it be the Lord is trying to redirect our attention, to fulfill a purpose we cannot even fathom? Even Paul’s desires to spread the gospel were pre-empted by the Spirit of God. The direction he thought was the way to go, was not where God wanted him to go. Had it not been for the imprisonment of Paul from his travels, we would not have the mighty writings of the New Testament for guidance and instruction. Paul counted it all joy, he saw his imprisonment as an opportunity to share the gospel where Romans would hear. Paul learned to be content with and without, in prison or free–with help or without. God used his circumstances, gave him a thorn in his flesh and Paul surrendered Himself totally to the Savior.
God knows where His children are today, too. And should we wander off in any direction for any reason and take our attention off Him, He is bound by His own promises to bring us back to His protection, His care and His sustaining grace. I believe God cannot tolerate loyalties divided. He is a jealous God.
When we get off on a tangent of our own to fulfill a need in us to accomplish something, to prove something, is it any wonder when what we do seems to fail?
Is it any wonder when we seek to go in one direction we’re met with roadblocks? Sometimes it is not the devil to whom we should credit the difficulties in life, perhaps it is the Lord to Whom we should praise? For it is written:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2.
And also, remember the words of Peter,
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested with fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love.”1 Peter 1:6-8a.
What a friend we have in Jesus! In His grace we find all we need and more. Makes me wonder why we seek after lesser things from people, networks, organizations, entities, institutions, politicians and the world. He and He alone deserves our devotion. "Do you love, me?" do you love Me? do you love Me?" the risen Lord asked Peter. "Feed My sheep."
"You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love." Rev. 2:3-4
Many things to which we devote our energies, emotions and time, are very good things. Many battles we wage are worthy of fighting. As Christians, does our devotion focus on Jesus, or to what we are rightly devoted? Is Jesus lifted up to draw all men to Him, or is He sometimes buried beneath the rhetoric of the right way to do this, or the proper way to do that? I wonder. I really do. selahV