April 23 I Thursday
2 Samuel 16-18
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”
—1 Timothy 4:13
From the opening verse of this devotion, Paul writes to Timothy telling him to be devoted to the practice of being in God’s Word and sharing what he is encountering with others. The Greek word Paul used for “devote” is prosech, which literally means “to apply oneself to, to attach oneself to something, to hold or cleave to a person or thing, to be given or addicted to.” In other words, Paul is saying, “Timothy, I want you to be addicted, I want you to cleave to the reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching.”
When we look up in a dictionary the word “addiction”, it is defined as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behaviour or activity.” Addiction can come in many forms. The most obvious is a drug or alcohol addict, where a person loses control to the substance that has a grip on their life. Another is an addiction to a sports team; depending on how the team is doing, it affects one’s mood and behaviour. There is also an addiction to video gaming as well as to money and playing the lottery or the stock market. We could even be addicted to power, always wanting things our way.
Yet, an addiction is not necessarily a negative thing, as being addicted to the Word is a good thing. This could be why Paul writes to Timothy saying, “Timothy, my child, my true son in the faith, be addicted, give yourself fully, to Scripture. Be addicted to Jesus.” Psalm 42:1 tells us, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, my God.” The psalmist describes his addiction to being with God and in His presence. The reality of addiction is that it is very strong and what Paul is telling the believer is to be addicted to Jesus––be devoted to Him.
Our problem is not that our desires are too strong, we simply misplace them into the wrong objects sometimes. In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis tells us, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
As we meditate on the words of Lewis, may we soberly ask ourselves: What are we devoted to? What consumes our time, energy and passion? Are we addicted to Jesus?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, if there is one thing in this world that I want to be addicted to, that would be You. As the deer pants for streams of water, I ask that all of You consume all of me.