Author: Larry Ely
Growing up, my favorite pet was my cat “Blacky”. At the age of 5 or 6, my cat quickly became my best friend. He played with me, slept with me, and followed me around the house. He came in from outside when I whistled for him. He would find me and comfort me when I was sad. He would let me carry him around in my Lincoln Log can. He would lie down beside my electric racetrack and stop the cars when they went by and then casually let them continue on their way. He would purr in my lap. In short, Blacky was a great cat and had become my devoted friend. He enjoyed my sister and my parents too, but he liked me the best. Loyal and faithful pets often have a funny way of transcending animal life and becoming a part of our families. Have you ever had a pet like that; one that you loved and that loved you back? Maybe it was a dog, or a cat, or a bunny, or your favorite farm animal.
Then there was our evil hamster Cookie! He was white with black texturing like Cookies & Cream ice cream, but much meaner. He was a small hyperactive dwarf hamster with no love or loyalty for anyone. You couldn’t hold him or play with him without getting bit and all he wanted to do was escape his cage. He was a bully to our other hamster and had to be separated. Basically, he was a bad pet and we didn’t miss him when he was gone. It’s sad, but true. Have you ever had a pet like that; one that you put up with but didn’t really enjoy? You know… the one you secretly wouldn’t mind if it never came back. Lol.
So how about you? What kinds of things are you devoted to: family, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, school, sports, music, a job, a team, a pet, a dream, or a goal? We can be passionate about many things, but what about our faith? What does it look like to be a devoted follower of Christ?
Following Christ isn’t easy. Like many things, it takes hard work and discipline to adjust our lives to obey God and honor him with our actions and choices. Often, it requires personal sacrifice to be devoted to God in our morals, values, and beliefs. It might mean cleaning up our bad language, or wearing more modest clothing, or choosing music with clean lyrics and themes, or putting a content filter on our internet, or setting restrictions on our cell phones/mobile devices, or dating people with higher standards, or setting aside time to read the Bible and pray.
In the Bible, Jesus says: “If you love me, obey my commandments.” –John 14:15.But devotion is more that just obedience or compliance. Devotion involves love. It involves our heart, not just our behavior. God wants us to follow him out of genuine love because of his deep love for us. He wants us to grow in our faith and spend time with him because we want to, not because we have to. What are some ways you could show God your love and devotion this week?
- “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” –Acts 2:42
- “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” -Romans 12:10
Text: © 2019 Amplify Ministries * Image: google free use license