I’m a big fan of determining a theme for the upcoming year. One of my favorite themes from a few years ago was, “Consume less; contribute more.” Orienting my life around that mantra led to many positive changes that have endured to the present. As I contemplated my theme for 2016, I admit I was at a bit of a loss.
Several unexpected turns over the past year left me feeling a bit uncertain of what future direction I should pursue. As I stood in the shower praying last week (I’m convinced all great revelation occurs in a warm shower!), my 2016 theme became very clear to me. It’s not a phrase or a mantra, but rather a single word: devotion.
As I continued to pray, God revealed more of what devotion should look like in my life. This was an intimate time with the Father, and His words were directly speaking into my life, but perhaps they will resonate in yours as well. Devotion means to me I will fill every nook and cranny of my life with God. Any free time I have will be an opportunity to learn more about Him, to grow my love for Him, and to simply be still in His presence.
We have a lot of things competing for our free time. This world has no shortage of distraction or temptation. How we choose to spend the time allotted to us to manage directly reflects our devotion to Christ. What is more profitable or more pleasurable than spending time with Jesus? What is it we have to do that could ever be more important or more worthwhile? There are countless endeavors we could pursue in our lifetime, but unless our focus and goal is to devote ourselves to Christ, our life will be wasted. I don’t want to live a wasted life. I want to live a life of devotion to my Savior and my King.
So what does a life of devotion look like for me in 2016?
- After several years of reading the Bible through, I took last year off to spend more focused time on specific passages. That was the plan at least, but I admit it was poorly executed. I will return to reading God’s Word through this year as I find it immensely important to constantly remind ourselves of the whole story of our Creator and His immeasurable love for us.
- Devotion in 2016 means regular, scheduled, daily times in prayer; morning, noon, and evening times will be spent on my face in earnest pleading for those far away from God, and for those who claim to know Him but live as if they don’t.
- My spare time will be spent not in front of a television or computer screen watching mindless “entertainment”, but instead immersing myself in the sermons and messages of Godly men and women who have been gifted by God with a message for His people.
- I will schedule regular times each week to dive deep into specific passages that have shaped and directed my life, as well as praying through new passages to unearth what the Lord is teaching me so I might share those learnings with others.
- I will designate time each day to read insights from others who are pursuing Jesus with all of their heart, mind, and soul.
- Finally, I will spend daily time in quiet reflection, simply listening and sensing God’s movement and involvement in my life.
All of this is not so I can be proud of what I am doing for the Kingdom but so I might become fully devoted to God and carrying out the mission He Created me to accomplish. I want to be devoted to Him so I might better reflect Christ to the world around me. My prayer is my devotion will be not so much of what it does for me, but rather about the impact of what it allows God to do through me. I covet all of your prayers as I embark on this journey in 2016 and invite each of you to join me. Devotion is not optional for those who choose to be disciples of Jesus. It is our duty and obligation, but above all it is our unabated pleasure and honor.