February 1 I Monday
“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart.” —Psalm 119:1-2
What are we devoted to? Some of us may be devoted to sports teams, celebrities and influencers, checking for updates and being in the know of their latest news on social media. How would we describe our personal devotion to God? The Greek word for “devoted” is proskartereo-, which means “to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing, to persevere and not to faint, to show one’s self courageous for.”
Acts 2:42 gives us a glimpse into what the early church was devoted to, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The list begins with the apostles’ teachings. Why is that? Being steadfast in the Word leads to a deeper understanding and experience of Jesus Christ. It was a means to an end. We do not devote ourselves to the study of God’s Word simply to get more information; rather, we devote ourselves to come into contact with the One we love. Over time, we find our lives becoming transformed into His likeness.
A genuine Christian church will have Christ-centered teaching at the heart, where the study and exposition of God’s Word is not simply to gain information or a set of doctrine but an earnest desire for the people to have a true, lasting and very real experience of Christ in their lives—beyond the knowledge about something and into a practical experience of it. For example, during the pandemic last summer, my kids took up skateboarding, and subsequently, I had also taken it up with them. I could know all the terminologies about skateboarding, watch a lot of YouTube videos with experts doing tricks, buy skateboarding gear to wear and even show up at a skatepark, but all of that is very different from actually throwing myself down a ramp or off a jump, which I eventually did. There is a difference between knowing about something and experiencing it firsthand.
Likewise, as Christians, we can listen to sermons online, read our favourite Christian blog or listen to our favourite podcast; in fact, we could even go to church regularly and have Bible verses memorized, but at the end of the day, consuming Christian content and memorizing the Bible does not necessarily mean we are experiencing the living Christ firsthand.
Christianity centers on a relationship with Christ. As we immerse ourselves in the Word, being devoted to the study of Scripture not just for information, our lives become transformed as we meet the living Christ in a very real and experiential way. May we be devoted to the study of the Word out of our relationship with Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, I desire to have a deep relationship with You. Grow in me a devotion to study Your Word, where I can experience You firsthand. Thank You, Lord.