June 19, 2016

Centered devotion

For some, devotion to Jesus Christ means dedicating oneself to the work of the church, or to missions, or to a particular cause, or to care for a particular group of people. This seems to be what Jesus is talking about when He met with Peter after His resurrection . . .

He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” (John 21:16)

Chambers is quick to point out that any service to Christ comes from loving Him. That is, the service that I do must be from devotion to the Lord, not adherence to my church doctrine, or a concern for the lost, or any political or social issues, or even compassion for the needy. He sums up his thoughts with this paraphrase: ‘If you would be My disciple, you must be devoted to Me.’

The keynote speaker at a writers’ conference put it this way: “We are not called to write. We are called to love and obey Jesus Christ. Today He may have you writing; tomorrow He may ask you to do something else.”

Her words changed my life. I’d been hung up on the idea of a focus, a calling, something that God wanted from me that I could give all efforts toward doing. As soon as I heard those words, a great weight was lifted. I had no vision, no calling, but now I did; listen to Jesus every moment of every day and do what He says. Life might seem like a scrambled adventure, but it will be lived in the guidance and grace of God.

Before sitting down to devotions this morning, I was having a conversation with the Lord about the future. Of course He does not reveal much about that topic to any of His children, but He did tell me to pay attention to today’s reading in My Utmost for His Highest for He would give me what I needed to know.

He did. He wants me to be devoted to Him, to do His will as He reveals it. I am to love Him “personally and passionately” and in doing that, He will take me where He wants me to go, showing me what sheep to feed and how to feed them.

Basically, this direction is about living for Christ, but before anyone can do that, they must die to self, yielding all passions, supposed callings, personal ambitions and desires. I might want to do many things, but God wants me to shut up, focus on Him, listen to what He says, and do it.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)

I’m not certain I was anxious about fruit-bearing, but I did get up this morning thinking about dying. Jesus was thinking about it too, but not the same kind of death that was bugging me. Again, He wants me to live moment-by-moment. This morning He may have me in church worshiping Him, but who knows what He might ask me to do this afternoon!

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