“Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him.”
“‘I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 30:21b) Jeremiah wrote this Scripture during the Israelite’s 70 year Babylonian captivity. The Israelites’ idolatry and rebellion brought God’s judgment. God not only wanted their idol worship to cease, He desired to bring His children back to Himself. And even more than that, God longed for the Israelites to choose to devote themselves to be close to Him.
To be devoted is “to give up wholly; to addict; to direct the attention wholly or chiefly; to attach.” Still today God desires to bring us near or close to Him. But more than us becoming intimate with Him as a result of Him drawing us, God’s looking for those who will give themselves wholly to be close to Him.
Idolatry is loving someone or something more than we love God. We obey what we love and we enjoy pleasing those we love. Because God is not mean, He doesn’t just want to take something away from us that we deem precious. Ultimately, God desires to give us something even more precious-Himself.
I’ve struggled with the same idols most of my life. Family, friends, food, fear of man, books and sleep are all sources I’ve run to for comfort. Codependency on family and friends, along with fearing man more than I fear the Lord, have all been the cause of my personal captivity. It’s when I began to love God more and became addicted to Him that I started to taste freedom. Idolatry, rebellion and turning away from God, keeps me in bondage. Whereas devotion and obedience to God releases the butterfly within to fly freely.
What or to whom do you give yourself wholly to? What are you addicted to, which you can’t seem to live without? If someone were to take stock of your life, where would they see your devotion is placed?
I want to devote my life to becoming close to God. My purpose in life, why God created me, is to become more intimate with Him. How close to God I am today is not as close as I want to be tomorrow. My central desire is to have my life revolve around drawing nearer to God every day. I hope I never come to point of being satisfied in my relationship with God. Each day I want to grow one step closer to God and take others with me on that journey.
“Now devote your heart and soul, (mind, will and emotions), to seeking the Lord your God.”
I Chronicles 22:19
1. Who or what are you devoted to?
2. How can you direct your attention wholly to grow closer to God?