I purposely avoided posting this as a “New Year’s” post. I don’t want it to get lost in the flood of thoughts and decisions that come and go with January 1st. But I have noticed a threat to American Christians–a threat to their discipleship of Jesus. Let me illustrate:
What do the following have in common?
Police officers trying to stand their ground in the face of danger.
Football fans exuberantly cheering in freezing weather.
A nurse going to work to take care of people whose disease is contagious.
Protesters forming a mob powered by the vision that they alone are willing to stand for what they believe in.
An elected official casting a vote she knows will cause her political harm because she believes it is what is right.
A husband hovering over his wife, waiting for the ambulance, instinctively knowing that she was having a heart attack.
A father trying—again—to help his eight-year-old log in to his Zoom class session, reassuring him that he would make sure he was able to “go to school”.
These are images I have seen or experienced in the last two weeks, all illustrating a concept that is key to discipleship: devotion.
My dictionary app defines devotion as “profound dedication”.
I like that. Dedication—a commitment of a person or resources to another person or a cause. But not just dedication. Profound dedication. Dedication that goes beyond the norm to a level so intense that it comes from the depths of a person’s being.
That is devotion.
I have written a lot about what is essential to discipleship—and I will continue to do that. But in the end (and in the beginning) discipleship is about devotion to a person.
The one who loves us. The one who humiliated himself for us. The one who forgave us. The one who gave us new life. The one who continues to give us hope.
Discipleship is doing a lot of things. But more than this, it is a commitment from the depths of our being to Jesus Himself. It is a will to do whatever He commands. To commit everything we have to Him and to what is important to Him. A commitment rooted in who He is, what He has done, and our belonging to Him.
I have seen many who claim the name of Christ exhibit such commitment to a political leader (right and left). I am deeply troubled by this because despite the lie these people have accepted, this level of devotion cannot be given to more than one person. And only Jesus has earned that devotion from us!
I don’t know what this year will bring for me or for you. I do know what is necessary for us to navigate the life we will encounter. it isn’t political commitment. It isn’t even commitment to a moral standard or an ideology. It certainly isn’t blind obedience to man or woman we think can accomplish what the world needs now.
It is Devotion to the King.
Know Jesus and Be Faithful!