A Deeper devotion
I often wonder what it means to be devoted to something. Sometimes devotion can be portrayed in the same way we think about priorities: to be devoted to something means putting it first or making time for it. In some instances, this can be a helpful way of thinking about it, but it can also cause us to make these “priorities” just another “thing” we put on our agenda; it ends up being just another part of our lives over time. In other words, does being devoted to something mean we just prioritize certain things above others out of our long list of important things?
For me, this is a personal struggle. There are many things in life that I am passionate about, or that I feel should be prioritized. Once I start making the list of things that are important to me (my spouse, sports, reading books, video games, friends), I realize about halfway down the list that “following Christ” or “living a Christian life” should be somewhere on this list. But therein lies the conundrum: is Christ just a part of my life, albeit a prioritized one?
We often hear people talk about “putting Christ first” or “making God a priority” in our lives; and while I think these ways of talking can be helpful, I also think they can be misleading. Often, when I determine to make something a priority, I begin to emphasize certain things over others. This can help if we are trying to exercise more, or study for school, or move up in our jobs; but does it still hold for following Christ or “living the Christian life?”
I once had someone say to me that “Christ is not a part of our lives, he is our life.” This statement has forever stuck with me and challenged me in how I think about being devoted to him. My devotion to him encompasses all that I say, do and think – my overall orientation in life. This has proved to be a much more challenging way of following Christ, since it doesn’t allow me to see faith as an item in a list of things about me; rather, all the things in my life (my passions, characteristics, hobbies, faults) are encompassed in and transformed through Christ.
When we see the disciples in Acts 2 following Christ, they are eating and drinking together, caring for one another’s physical needs, performing miracles, and spending time together. In all the things they do, they are extending Christ to others and bringing others into this new way of life. This is a deeper level of devotion – are you ready to begin?