I see fully devoted followers of Christ. Occasionally I
am one. Just occasionally.
not that I don't read Scripture, pray, attend church
services, give, serve others, and even preach and teach.
It's that I don't love-not
sufficiently, not consistently, not deeply, not
unreservedly, yet. And love
forms the foundation for true
relatively easy to structure my life around duty. I've
spent my lifetime working hard to meet the expectations
of others. Those of us who struggle to say "No" place
high importance on the opinions and approval of others.
We do our duty to receive their
"fully devoted" and "deeply dutiful" reflect different
Jesus faced the journey toward Jerusalem, He did so out
of devotion not duty. He faced His approaching death not
from obligation-some divine plan that must be
accomplished, no questions asked-but because He loved so
deeply; His Father, us. He did not endure the cross to
fulfill His duty but to display His
Foster describes spiritual disciplines as "those things
we can do,
that allow God to enable us to do what we cannot do, such
as loving our enemies." Thus, all the external rites,
rituals and habits that we call Christian have
two goals; enablement and
done out of duty fail to touch the heart and inevitably
collapse for most of us. Indeed, the lover never
considers time given to his Beloved a "discipline."
Instead, love reframes it as an
read Scripture not for information but transformation;
not to get God's attention but to lovingly give Him
their attention. They fast (from television, food,
internet, or whatever) not to impress Him but to press
Christian journey, in its richest moments, finds its
fuel not in law but in love. Our faith comes alive
not with teeth-gritting determination but with loving
devotion. We enter the deepest joy as we engage the
heart, not just the head.
Edwards, who lived and preached during the Great
Awakening in 18th century America, noted that
"throughout the Bible, true religion is placed in the
affections." Learning to love Christ, then, provides the
transition from duty to devotion.
the Father guide our journey into more consistent, deep,
and unreserved love for Him. And may He shape us to
become more devoted (rather than dutiful) followers of
Jesus ... even this week.