April 12 I Thursday
1 Samuel 19-21
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
The Greek word for “devoted” used in the opening verse is proskartereo. Translated, it means, “to be steadfastly attentive unto something, to give unremitting care to a thing.” People devoted to their professions spend most of their time working to be the best they can be in the career they have chosen. Parents devoted to their children spend a great deal of time in raising and nurturing them. We may say we are devoted to Christ, but is there evidence of this from how we spend our time?
We practice spiritual disciplines so we may experience a more intimate relationship with God. Church attendance, reading Scripture and prayer are the most obvious ways in which we develop that relationship. Believers in the early church, however, had only the Old Testament scrolls and depended on the teaching of the apostles to learn from them. Today, we are greatly blessed to have God’s Word easily and readily available, but reading Scripture or hearing others preach about God are always a means to an end.
Throughout Scripture, we encounter the living Christ, which is why our engagement with Scripture should not be superficial. It is as we study and meditate on God’s Word that He reveals Himself. A deeper commitment to Scripture will direct us with major decisions in life, help us in battling temptation and is invaluable in our witness for Christ. As situations arise, the Spirit will remind us of what we have learned in the Bible. Over a number of years, new wave movements have and still are springing up everywhere. Diluted versions of the Gospel fill platforms, pulpits, auditoriums and the media on a daily basis. Consequently, countless people are deceived because they are not familiar with the truth of Scripture.
As we reflect on the timeless and unchanging Word of God, we have the authentic Gospel; not a partial, watered-down version, but the whole picture. And the whole picture tells of the corruption of our hearts, the fact we are sinners who need saving and that we have a Saviour in Jesus Christ. To be devoted to Him is to desire and nurture an intimate relationship in which His love for us is reciprocated with all our hearts, minds and souls.
A devoted relationship with Jesus Christ is the Christian life. As our relationship with Him deepens, we will find ourselves longing to linger with Him in prayer and to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV). This involves a perpetual awareness of Christ’s presence and bringing Him into every aspect of our lives. The depth of our devotion to Christ is evident not just from the good we do, but the time we take in genuinely coming to know Him.
Prayer: Dear God, I acknowledge I do not always steward my time the way I should. Renew in me a devotion and discipline to study Your Word and spend time with You. Thank You, Lord.