Sunday, November 5, 2017, 5:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Total Praise.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures on the subject of being devoted to God (NIV/NASB).
Devoted – dedicated, fervent, zealous, loyal, faithful, committed, dutiful.
Faithful to the Lord
Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Romans 8:12-14: Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
Romans 6:16: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
As followers of Christ, we can’t be spiritual “fence riders,” not really taking a stand on one side or the other, neither hot nor cold, but spiritually lukewarm. Jesus didn’t call us to have a so-so relationship with him. He came to give us life, but abundant life in him. He called us to commitment, to take up our cross daily, and to follow him. He said that if we don’t do this, or if we love our family members more than him, that we are not worthy of him. Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He said, in essence, that if we hold on to our old lives, of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), for his sake, that we will have eternal life.
Devoted to One Another
Romans 12:10-13: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”
1 Corinthians 16:15: “You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people.”
1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
If we are truly devoted to Jesus Christ, as his faithful servants, we will be devoted to one another in Christ’s love, which prefers what God prefers, i.e. what is moral, upright, honest, decent, and honorable. This type of devotion, in other words, does not come from the flesh, but from the Spirit. It does not have the mind of the flesh, but the mind of the Spirit. So, it will not serve the flesh, but the Spirit. So, this type of service and devotion will never be contrary to God’s Word, and it will never involve sinful practices, but it will always consider what is in the best interest of one another, not according to the desires of the flesh, though, but according to the desires of the Spirit for our individual lives. So, not only will we not do anything to lead another into sin, but we will steer others toward what is godly and righteous.
Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
If we have died with Christ to sin, and we have been resurrected to new life in Jesus Christ, of the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit now lives within us, our lives should display this fruit of the Spirit, not perfectly, but consistently. And, daily, by the Spirit, we should be putting to death the deeds of the flesh and putting on Christ and his armor and his holiness. This is what it means to be in Christ, and to be walking in his ways, according to the Spirit. For, Jesus didn’t die just so we can escape hell and so we can go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His grace, as well, is not free license to continue in willful sin against God, in sinful addiction, yet without guilt. His grace, as this says, instructs us to live godly and holy lives and to say “No” to sin and worldly passions (lusts).
Committed to Christ
Revelation 2:10: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
1 Corinthians 4:2: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
When we are committed to Christ and to his service, and we are walking according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, we will face opposition, persecution, hatred and perhaps even violence against us for our stand for Christ and for his gospel of salvation. And, some of this may even come from family members, neighbors, friends, and church members, and even from church leaders/rulers. Remember, this describes the people who persecuted and killed our Lord Jesus Christ, and he said that we would be treated the same as he was treated when we become his followers. Yet, we should not be surprised by this, and we should not let this undo us, but we should commit ourselves to Christ, remain faithful to his service, and keep on doing what he has called us to do, even to the point of death.
One day Jesus is going to come back for us and take us home to be with him, and we will no longer suffer in this way. But, while we wait for his return, we are to remain faithful to him in every way. Daily we are to spend time with him in his Word, listening to his voice speak his truths to our hearts. And, then we must respond to what he teaches us with obedience to what he shows us. And, part of what he will show us is his calling on our lives and the gifts he has given us with which we are to minister to the body of Christ. So, we must be obedient to his calling on our lives, and do what he shows us, not just because we must, but because we love him, because we want to please him, and because he has changed our hearts so that we want to be like Jesus in all that we do, and no longer live to gratify our flesh.
Yet, we don’t do this in our own flesh, or according to our own timetable, or fitting to our own comfort level, but we obey our Lord and we follow him in the power, wisdom and strength of His Spirit, now living and working his grace within us, and all for his glory and praise. Amen!
Total Praise / Richard Smallwood
Lord, I will lift mine eyes to the hills
Knowing my help is coming from You
Your peace You give me in times; of the storm
You are the source of my strength
You are the strength of my life
I lift my hands in total praise to You.