Summary: Four Things the Bible says we should be devoted to
“The Devoted Life”
September 12, 2010
“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God.”
Lance Armstrong is a phenomenal cyclist who has won the Tour De France for a record seven consecutive times, and that was after having survived cancer! One of the keys to his success as an athlete has been his single-minded devotion to training. He has an unusual willingness to suffer physically, to push his mind and body to the limit, to prepare himself to win. Listen to this passage from his book which describes his preparations for the 1999 Tour De France:
"I went back to training. I rode, and I rode, and I rode. I rode like I had never ridden, punishing my body up and down every hill I could find. I remember one day in particular, May 3, a raw European spring day, biting cold. I steered my bike into the Alps, with Johan following in a car. By now it was sleeting and 32 degrees. I didn’t care. We stood at the roadside and looked at the view and the weather, and Johan suggested that we skip it. I said, "No. Let’s do it." I rode for seven straight hours, alone. To win the Tour I had to be willing to ride when no one else would ride."
That’s a good definition of devotion. Here’s another one. Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” I’ll give you half of my wealth,” was his reply.
“And if I release your children?” The prince says, “I will give you everything I possess.”
“And what would you give if I release your wife?” Without hesitation the prince says, “Your Majesty, I will give myself.”
Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!”
With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you—the one who was willing to give himself for me.”
If I were to ask you what YOU were devoted to – how would you answer that question? The evidence is pretty plain to see. Some people are devoted to their jobs – haven’t missed a day in years. Some are devoted to their mate or kids and they make great sacrifices for them. Some are devoted to sports – and you can tell it by the clothes they wear and how much time and money they spend on it. Some are devoted to reading or entertainment or having a good time. Whatever it is you are devoted to will affect your time, how you spend your money, and what you think about.
I wondered what Jesus was devoted to. As I thought about it – I had to conclude that He was devoted to us. He was willing to give His life for us. That’s devotion. The only thing He said about devotion was this:
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Luke 16:13
Have you noticed that whatever a person is devoted to takes up most of his life? The thing he is devoted to becomes his god. God wants us to be devoted to the right things. We are to be devoted to Him – and then He tells us how to express our devotion to Him - by being devoted to certain things. Devotion to God is expressed in devotion to these things. Before I share those things with you – let me share with you what some great people in the Bible were devoted to.
First, let’s look and see what Ezra was devoted to. The Bible says,
“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Ezra 7:10
Devoted to studying the Bible and obeying God. That pretty good. He was also devoted to teaching the Bible. Not bad things to be devoted to. Studying the Bible and teaching it to others. We would do well to follow Ezra’s example.
Second, let’s look at Nehemiah. Here’s his testimony.
“Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land.” Nehemiah 5:14-16