You may have heard Netflix is raising the price of their subscriptions. Apple just released yet another new phone. There’s probably a new fitness program in the works about to hit the market, if not already. Why does any of this matter?
Well, it might not, depending on who you ask. It’s ok to enjoy technology, exercise, family time, etc. The question is, does it take up the majority of your time or thoughts? Are you devoted to it? According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, devotion is characterized by loyalty. Devotion can be good and it can be bad. I personally think devotions can turn into addictions, in some ways, and again, good or bad. I can give you an example. A year or two ago there was a series on Netflix I started watching. I was completely sucked into it to the point where I wasn’t getting any sleep. It was pretty much all I did aside from necessary things. I was emotionally involved in the show. It was causing several issues for me. One day, God woke me up and I realized how ridiculous I was acting. I stopped watching the show cold turkey. I didn’t stop watching Netflix, but I was back to a healthy amount of watching instead of being addicted. Yes, I was addicted. I wasn’t sleeping. It was consuming my thoughts. You could also say I was devoted to it. It had my allegiance.
Obviously, it isn’t a good idea to be devoted to Netflix. What should we devote ourselves to instead? In Acts 2, we learned the new believers devoted themselves to four things. They put all their energy and attention into these things, the first being the apostles teaching. They heard the gospel and responded. And they weren’t experts. They were just starting out, but they devoted themselves to learning more. Are we hungry for more of God’s word? Do we long to understand it so we can apply it to our lives and obey it? It doesn’t take long to see why this would be a good idea.
They were also devoted to fellowship. They met needs in their community, had meals together, worshipped together… It’s important to put some time into creating those kinds of relationships. These weren’t people they considered acquaintances. If you’re like me, you have a lot of those. They’re nice. You like them, but they’re not exactly friends. You know their name and have a good conversation with them here and there. But if tragedy stuck, would they be there for you? It usually doesn’t happen that way, which is why fellowship is so important. This goes with the third devotion, the breaking of the bread. We do this as a church as a reminder of what Jesus did for us. This means we should take the breaking of the bread to heart. We should truly remember and focus on this. We should pray together. We shouldn’t just sit there staring off into space. Jesus deserves more than that, though we could never repay him. But the breaking of the bread, like the other devotions, are for our benefit, not God’s.
The fourth devotional item is prayer. They were committed to praying together not once or twice, but like Acts 1:14 says, it was constant. Maybe you don’t understand why this would be important, especially compared to the other things. Trust me, I understand. I just recently became aware of the true power of prayer. It doesn’t have to be structured. You don’t have to feel like you’re going to say something wrong. God doesn’t care about that. He just cares you’re taking the time. It’s good to pray alone too, but there is power in numbers. If you give this an honest chance, if you let it be a devotion for you, I’m sure you’ll see prayer in a whole new light. But it’s going to take time and consistency.
Try all of these things. See how your life will change. It will be for the better. Instead of being alone in a room at 3am watching a show that isn’t teaching you anything, you could be sharing a meal with new friends. Actual friends. You can pray together. Study the word and learn something new. Good things are bound to happen.