I don’t know when the word devotions started to mean the daily meeting with God in prayer and the Word. The only two times the word is used in our English Bible is in the negative. The Apostle Paul beheld the devotions of the idolatrous people in Athens. In his own words, “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23).
The same word that Paul uses in Athens he uses to describe the anti-christ in 2 Thessalonians 2:4. The word means “the object of worship or admiration.” Just because you “have devotions” doesn’t mean that God is in His rightful place in your heart! True devotions are measured by true worship.
The word devotions is rooted in the idea of being devoted. It is more than doing – it is being. Everyone is devoted to something or someone. In our culture we speak admiringly of a devoted husband or devoted wife. It is a word of relationship and commitment. It is a heart word.
Devotions should simply be the expression, the application of a heart that is devoted to Christ. The loving longing to be with Him who loved us first. Devotions is not simply something to do today…it is a way to live. My pastor used to talk to us about the difference between having devotions and developing a devotional life. In the first you give God a few moments, but in the second you give God everything.
Daily communion with Christ does indeed require devotion…
- Devoted time. Every moment is God’s but some definite moments should be set aside to talk with Him.
- Devoted attention. We are not just filling time! The goal is to give God our undivided attention. Remember that you become like whoever you spend time with. When we spend time in His presence we are changed into His image.
- Devoted energy. Our best should be given to God, not our leftovers. Spirit, soul, and body should be engaged in our devotional time with God.
In reality, the thing that must be devoted is our heart. A devoted heart will find time, make a way, give its best to commune with the One it loves.
God expressed His desire for our fellowship not in the word devotions but in the word walk. It is found throughout Scripture. Enoch walked with God. Noah walked with God. Walk in the Spirit. Walk in love. Walk in light. Walk circumspectly.
Walking is something that continues through the day. It extends to everywhere you go and every thing you do. Walking with God begins with a time of sitting still at the feet of Jesus to hear His Word but it does not stop there. Those who walk with God do more than merely “have devotions” – they keep following Christ with a devoted heart.
Have a devotional time today but cultivate a devoted heart all through the day.