Summary: Things the Bible tells us we are to be devoted to.
“Devotion – the Duty of the Disciple”
February 23, 2014
“Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. He said to them, “Is not the LORD your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the LORD and to his people. Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God.”
What is the mark of a Christian? What is the sign of a true Believer? What is the fruit of the faithful?
In 1990 83% of the population claimed to be Christian. In 2012 about 73% of Americans described themselves as Christians. Of the nearly three quarters of the population who labeled themselves as Christian, only 62% were members of a church. Gallup Research Organization has reported for years that only 40% of Americans actually go to Church on a given Sunday. But Americans tend to exaggerate so they recounted and the numbers revealed that only 20.4% of the population actually attended Church each weekend.
Imagine if everyone who labeled themselves as a Christian and talked the talk would walk the walk. Imagine if they lived like Christ. Imagine if they believed the Bible and voted the standards of it. We would live in a far different world, wouldn’t we?
The fact of the matter is that the true disciple is a rare and precious creature. His fruit is very different from the worlds. It is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). Spiritual Fruit is a part of the disciples nature that is developed as he matures in Christ. The Holy Spirit reveals his need in these areas and then helps him to produce this fruit.
There is one characteristic that is a part of the Christian’s attributes or spiritual traits that produces that fruit. This attitude provides the environment that invites the Holy Spirit to reside in the heart. That attribute is devotion. This morning I want to talk about the ‘duty of the disciple’ – which is devotion.
In our Scripture that we began with King David is encouraging the leaders of Israel to “devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God.”
That is good instruction for us today. We need to devote our heart and with all our soul, seek the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our God.
But how do we do that? How do we devote ourselves to seeking the Lord? What do we do? This morning I want to share with you a few things the Bible tells us to devote ourselves to in this process of being devoted to God.
First of all, we need to devote ourselves to prayer. That almost goes without saying, doesn’t it? We need God’s help; we need God’s grace in this unnatural endeavor of being devoted to God. Naturally we are devoted to ourselves and our interests. It is not a natural human response to be devoted to Someone else. So we need to pray. The Scripture says,
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
What does that look like? What is the difference between being devoted and undevoted? Well, an undevoted person prays – occasionally. A person who is not devoted is not regular, disciplined, or habitual in his prayer.
A person who is devoted in prayer MAKES it happen. He has a plan to pray. He has a purpose. He probably has a place of prayer. Let’s take a look at Jesus’ prayer life.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” “Mark 1:35
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed” Luke 22:39-41
Some things we learn about Jesus’ prayer life are that, 1. It was done often very early in the morning while it was still dark; 2. It was a private place; a solitary place; 3. It was a regular thing. He often withdrew to lonely places to pray. He ‘went as usual to the Mount of Olives to pray; and 4. He knelt when He prayed.
Those are some things we ought to incorporate into our prayer life. Prayer is simply talking to God. If you don’t know how to pray, you may want to begin with what we call “The Lord’s Prayer”. And then begin to talk to God as you would your best friend. I have a little acrostic that I often use – A.C.T.S. It stands for Adoration; Confession; Thanksgiving; and Supplication. Supplication means to bring your requests to God. One of my favorite Scriptures on prayer says,