Notes from a Radical, Evangelical, Protestant, Mystic
A Life of Real Devotion to God
June 22, 2012Posted by on
Devotion is not just about prayer, quiet time, and reading the bible. It is also, about how we live our lives. We show real devotion by doing “everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) Whatever we do—our job, hobbies, how we interact with friends, family, and strangers should all be done to the glory of God. We are to live by faith, how that looks will differ person to person. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul advises, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
At the beginning of Romans 12 Paul writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Our life is to be lived in worship to God and in gratitude for the blessings lavished on us. For us who have been blessed greatly we are to pay it forward by extending those same blessings to others. Not for our own sake have we been saved, blessed, and graced, but to extend our gifts to our needy brothers and sisters.
If our devotion doesn’t make us better, healthier, saner human beings what worth is it?
God has given us some very clear instructions as to how we are to live. These include things like the command to love one another (John 13:34-35), the call to follow Him at the cost of denying our self (Matthew 16:24), the exhortation to care for the poor and needy (James 1:27), the list goes on. Jesus summed up a life lived for God when a teacher of the law asked Him what is the most important of commandments Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
The Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” A life lived for God is one in which that takes place when we pursue God with our entire being—heart, soul, mind, and strength. We abide in Christ (John 15:4, 8) and therefore act like Him by loving others and in doing that, we bring glory to His name and enjoy him forever.
To live a life a real devotion we must seek God in and through the bible. Living for God means giving up ourselves and desiring God’s will above all else. It means following Jesus and seeking to live as Jesus did and wants us to live. As we come to know God and his word more and more, His desires will more naturally become ours. God will mold us into more Christ-like, God glorifying, humble human beings. As Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15).
I have dedicated my life to living for and with God. I want to help others seek God and find ways of communing with God personally. For me, the St. Francis Prayer has helped me to draw closer with God and understand what living the Gospel is all about—to love and forgive always, to spread joy, hope, and light where they are most needed. A life of real devotion to God means dying to self daily and clothing myself in Christ, in sharing my journey with others and studying the ways and words of God. The study I have been leading at church has helped me both personally and spiritually. It has been public way of expressing my inner drive to devote my life to the Kingdom of God.
Listen to Frederick Buechner, “And now brothers, I will ask you a terrible question, and God knows I ask it also of myself. Is the truth beyond all truths, beyond the stars, just this: that to live without him is the real death, that to die with him the only life?”