God Wants Devotion Not Production
1 John 4:16 ESV So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I have a constant need to feel productive. If I’m not checking off the next thing on my list then I feel like I’m doing something wrong. I’ve even been known to write something on the list after doing it, just so I can cross it off. We all have those moments when we just do what we think “has to be done”. Things start to feel like a duty or maybe a requirement by society’s standards. But we shouldn’t see our faith walk as a “to-do” list. Instead, it should be a relationship in response to the salvation we have received.
Devotion is defined as a love, loyalty and enthusiasm for something. It is a profound dedication. We should feel love and loyalty towards our God who loves us more than we can imagine. Our loyalty should naturally flow into an enthusiasm for sharing God’s love and grace with others. 1 John 4:7-8 ESV says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
The Church is full of people doing amazing things for the Kingdom. There are people who appear to be the “perfect Christian” doing everything right. Some are leading Bible Studies, others go on Mission Trips and maybe even become missionaries. It can become easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough if you are struggling to read your Bible, do a daily devotion, joining a Bible Study, etc. The reality is the people doing those things aren’t wrong for doing them and you aren’t necessarily wrong for not doing them. Everyone is at a different place in their faith walk. God ultimately calls each of us to serve in different ways. For some, what they are doing is more seen in the public eye. Others may be called to simply serve in consistent, smaller ways that are not as obvious; such as loving and serving those at your workplace.
So how do we make sure we are walking out our faith with devotion instead of production? How can we keep our heart loyal and loving towards a God that can and will call each of us to such drastically different callings?
- Follow where God leads…WHEREVER He leads! Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future”.
God has a will and plan for all of us. And chances are, it is not what you would have expected. To make sure we know His will and can recognize His calling, you have to have a relationship with Him. Read His word, fellowship with other Christians who He can speak through, pray to Him and ask for wisdom. And prepare to be pleasantly surprised with where He takes you!
- Use your gifts for the Kingdom: 1 Peter 4:10 NIV “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Our salvation opens the door for God to use our gifts for His glory. We are all naturally stronger at some skills more than others. God has provided each of us with a set of skills and talents for a reason. Our passions and interests are not by chance. And even a career is an outlet where we can use our gifts for God’s glory. Serve where you are and love the people you interact with every day. God has you in those relationships for a reason, so pray that He will show you how best to serve those around you.
- Share your story for God’s glory: 1 Chronicles 16:8 ESV “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!”
When I was younger I always heard about people “sharing their testimony”. Young in my faith-walk, I always assumed your testimony is simply the story of how you choose to accept Christ; which that is true. However, as I’ve gotten further in my faith-walk I have realized that your testimony goes from one story of you accepting Christ, to a whole series of stories and situations where God can be seen in our lives. I now recognize how it is so important to share those stories where God blesses, guides, gives encouragement or hope in big moments and small. Each moment, and all of them within a lifetime, can be a beautiful story that opens someone’s heart to God’s love or provides hope for someone in a dark place, questioning if God is still with them. Your story is important, so don’t waste an opportunity to share it.
It is easy to feel like we aren’t doing enough. We start comparing ourselves to the other Christians around us, thinking that if we don’t do everything they are doing, then God won’t love us. But God always has and always will love us. He loved us enough to sacrifice His son for us. That gift of love is exactly why we have love and devotion for our God. Remember that we are all at different places and doing different things ON PURPOSE! God has created us differently so that we can fulfill His plans throughout the world. So when you find yourself focusing more on the other Christians and wondering if you are enough…you are! God has a plan and purpose for you if you just pursue Him, serving in the places He directs you.