The first disciplines a Christian develops are devotions. This usually includes Bible reading, prayer, and following some sort of reading plan or devotional. Devotionals are inspirational books that have something to read from the Scriptures with application for every day.
Most of the time when I say, “Devotion” people think of this morning or evening time they spend with the Lord and in his Word. While devotions are extremely important part of your walk with God, devotion to God is not a moment we have with him every day.
Devotion is offering God in your life for whatever he wills to do with it. It is a lifelong pursuit of honoring and serving God. Devote means to give something over to God. And when we do devotion, it is an active pursuit of fulfilling God’s mission for you until you die.
Devoting your life to God requires surrender, sacrifice, and service to him. You must give your all, your everything. Whatever he asks for is already his. But living this way is not what most Christians do. It demands something of us to fully devote ourselves to the Lord for his purposes.
A Life of Surrender
I often pray that God will use my life for his glory and benefit. I see myself as fully his to do with what he wills. My life is not mine. My desires are for him. Anytime I do not completely surrender everything to him that he wants from me, I am not truly in his service and he is not Lord.
The first act of surrender happens at salvation. It starts at the altar when you give your life to Christ. But you will find throughout your Christian walk that you will be returning to the theme of surrender.
We tend to think we have everything surrendered to God only to find out that he demands more and more of us. And if he is Lord of our life, we give him everything he desires from us. There are parts of our lives we have not fully surrendered.
So we find ourselves at the same altar once again, laying ourselves bare before the Lord. We surrender ourselves and what we thought God wanted over to him again. We give up our rights and what we Christianity is all about.
David did this well in the Psalms. He regularly put himself under God’s searchlight, asking God’s Spirit to continually make sure that there was nothing in him God didn’t want there. He asked God to search him (Psalm 139:23; 1 Chronicles 29:17).
A life of surrender requires us to continually come before the Lord and ask him to search us, to make sure that we are aligned with his purpose in our lives, his holy desires in us, and working for his kingdom.
When we surrender to God, we lay down at his feet every wayward thought, word, and deed. One of my mentors, Pastor Paul Grabill, used to say, “It’s not in trying harder but in surrendering more.” We can’t save or sanctify ourselves by our own works. We must bow before the Lord and let him change us from the inside out.
Surrender your heart to the Lord daily. Don’t keep trying harder. Keep surrendering more and more of your life, your thoughts, your speech, and your deeds to the Lord. Let him be the center of your life, guiding you in everything.
A Life of Sacrifice
Jesus gave himself for each of us. He hung on the cross, sacrificing his own life in our place. He is an example of how to live a sacrificial life before God and others. Anyone of us can so easily be proud or think that we get to use our time and resources our own way.
But when we become servants of Jesus, we dedicate our time, talents, resources, finances, and plans to the Lord for his ministry to others. We like to guard our time, arrange our schedules just right, and spend our money how we want.
But a person who gives his life as a sacrifice to the Lord has given up those things to be used by him for his purposes. As his representatives, these resources God has entrusted to us belong to him. We are only using them for the time we are here.
Because they actually belong to God, but he wants to do with them in us we are obligated as his people to do with them what he wills. We sacrifice what we want in the way we think things should be done to him. We sacrifice our talents and finances, our time and resources to the Lord for his use and his purposes.
What we think, feel, and believe about them is second to what the Lord wants. It’s hard for us to give up our rights to Jesus, but he is the one who gave them to us in the first place. We live a life of sacrifice when we willingly do what Jesus once, not what we want.
Being Jesus’ disciples costs us much. But the rewards for sacrificing unto the Lord everything we have and are, he uses them in a greater way than we could ever use them. And he rewards us for our sacrifice.
Sacrifice of these things to the Lord for his purposes is expected of us. When you call him Lord, he expects to be Lord. He expects to be in charge, to be leading you. And you must sacrifice your pride and anything he asks of you.
He tells us that if we ask anything in his name he will do it (John 14:13). But he also expects us to do whatever he asks. And he can do great things through you when you sacrifice yourself and all you are and have to him. If you want to see God do great things, then you must first sacrifice everything to him.
A Life of Service
We can’t just give whatever God asks of us to him and call it good. Jesus not only calls us to a life of surrender and sacrifice but a life of service to him. Once again, Jesus is our example. On the night of his betrayal when he instituted the Lord’s Supper, he taught the disciples to be servants first in his kingdom (John 13).
In that Upper Room Jesus did what none of the other disciples wanted to do when they came to the Passover meal. He removed his outer garment, took a towel and basin, and washed the feet of every disciple. And the whole time he was doing it, he was explaining that servants were the only ones that mattered in his kingdom.
To be great in God’s kingdom, you must be “the least of these.” God can use a heart that’s devoted to service for him. He looks for the people in the background, the ones who don’t want to be in the limelight, on center stage. Unless this is your area of service to the Lord, he is looking for you to serve according to your passion and purpose.
Each one of us has been given a great gift, something we can use to serve the Lord where he has planted us. Some people look at the gifts and service of others and wonder what God can do with their minuscule gift. And yet he gave it to them to use for his glory.
We don’t glorify God by doing things we think he wants us to do. We glorify him through obedience, serving as he needs us to serve. Whether we think something great of our gifts or not, God gave them to us to do whatever he asks whether we think it is small or great.
People misunderstand the old-time phrase, “to be used of the Lord.” It doesn’t mean he uses us like we use other people. Is not taking advantage of us. We have given ourselves for his service. To be used of the Lord is a blessed thing for each of us. It is to serve him in whatever he needs.
We must rely on the Lord to give us the mission. But then we serve gladly. To be a minister is to serve. And we serve in our context, our little corner of the world. Jesus places us exactly where we are, planting us like a beautiful flower that blooms through service. He knows where to put us.
Pour your gifts and talents, all of your resources, into serving the Lord with all of your heart. Do it with a cheerful heart and a positive, godly attitude. It’s a privilege to serve in the kingdom of God.
When we devote ourselves to the Lord, it is not only a time of hearing from him through his Word and prayer. It is also when we give ourselves over to him, surrendering ourselves and lives to him, sacrificing our resources for his kingdom, and serving him with excellence.
When we fully devote ourselves to the Lord for his service in everything, he will one day tell us when we see him face-to-face, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” So let us serve, sacrifice, and surrender in all things. Leave a comment and describe how you surrender, sacrifice, and serve the Lord in your context.