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4/5/2021 - DEVOTED or DEVOTION

“Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭18:9-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’ ” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” When Jesus heard his answer, He said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭18:18-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What do these two accounts have in common? If your answer is pride, you’re on the right track. In both instances, except for the tax collector, which I will address later, the Pharisee and the rich man were proud of their devotion to religious requirements. You could say that they were devoted to their devotion. Our time with the Lord should never produce arrogance or pride, but humility. The moment we begin to believe that what we’re doing makes us better than or superior to others, we have sinned. What we’re doing in private should always produce in us Christlike characteristics. Jesus humbled Himself. Yet no one possessed more authority and power as He.

Quiet personal time with Jesus is not bragging rite so that we turn our noses up at those who aren’t as we are. Read the first scripture again. Now read Jesus’ assessment of both men. He said the sinner went home justified, why? He humbled himself. We’re examples not trophies. No one likes false humility. Neither a show off. Especially if it’s intended to make you appear more spiritual than someone else. That’s what the Pharisee was doing. But in the end he left having received nothing from the Lord.

The rich man also left with nothing. He too had a resume of devotion. He was devoted to keeping every law, very impressive! Except that his perfection and attention to detail, was still lacking something: Charity. He wasn’t big on giving. His devoted time to all things Christian, didn’t change him much in the area of caring for the needs of others. Even colleges check applicants resumes for well roundedness. A life less self focused, for one more selfless. We should never do any service for God with a selfish ambition. It’s not look at me! It’s look at Him!

Always seek to take the attention away from yourself and point others to Jesus. Paul in one of his messages to believing spouses wrote these wisdom packed words to husbands and wives, but I believe that it applies to all relationships. We don’t win others by demonstrating how righteous we are, and how devoted we are to our devotion. We win them by simply being faithful to who God has called us to be. We don’t change people, Jesus changes people. Using humility as the main ingredient. The sinner recognized that, only by God’s Grace was he able to stand. He seized the opportunity to acknowledge his sinfulness before the Lord, and that may have caused others to see themselves in him, and receive Jesus Christ as their hope for salvation. Peter like Paul, gave a similar admonition as well.

“For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage.

Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you? Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:14, 16-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands." ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:1-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Are you devoted to your devotion, or are you devoted to Him? Be careful that you don’t allow pride to create an air of spiritual superiority. We are called to live humble lives before God and men. Always being mindful that our devotion to the Lord is an opportunity for Christ the hope of glory in us, to be the attractiveness that draws others into experiencing Him as well. We’ll never leave our devotional times with Him empty, but always full and refreshed, when we take this approach.

Marriages are the best demonstrations of humility and servanthood. It’s a replication of our relationship with Jesus. Our devotedness to Him, will always lead to our devotion to Him. We’re not devoted to the concept of devotion, but to a Person. The Pharisee and the rich man were so proud of their devotion, that they missed the bigger picture. Acknowledging their depravity and unrighteousness without Jesus. Don’t miss that. Pride masquerading as humility, always leads to emptiness.

“I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with Himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Him are made right with God.” Romans‬ ‭10:2-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Don’t let your devotion lose it’s fragrance, pride is a stink-weed, humility is a rose.

Written by permission of the Holy Spirit

W. Tennant

April 5, 2021


© Godly Parent Power 2021.  No part of Godly Parent Power & The Morning Messages can be used, adapted, or copied without the permission of the copyright holder.

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