If you grew up in Christian culture, you often heard the word “devotions” thrown around. We were taught to do our devotions or pick out cute devotionals to fit our current season of life. In my college years, I did the critical, skeptic thing and went against all the Christianese. Devotions? Nah. How about time in God’s presence? Or maybe quiet time. Though I still don’t love the phrase “doing my devotions”, today I’m drawn back to what I think was the initial thought behind those words. 

This morning, I read these words from Acts 2. 

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.”  (emphasis added)

This words carries such weight. Devotion connotes ideas of commitment and focus; loyalty and consistency. If that’s how we’re describing daily or regular time with Jesus, then yes, let’s do devotions. I don’t often describe myself as devoted – not as a wife, mother, or employee. Maybe because if I were to claim such a description, that would imply a significant level of dedication. Leaving that adjective off of my titles allows room for me to screw up. But I do want to be devoted to these important parts of my life. I want my husband to trust my commitment to him. I want my son to see my consistency and love. When my students and co-workers interact with me, I want them to benefit from my focus and care in my work. 

More importantly, I want to communicate devotion to the Father. Am I devoted to learning from him and his people? Am I devoted to growing in community? At Bethel, we’re heading into Dude and B.A.B.E. Week. We encourage our students to step away from technology and other distractions so that we can make space for community. We unplug so that we can purposefully plug in. With the passage from Acts, I read this prayer, words that seem especially fitting for this season with students:

Lord, we confess that we are often a distracted people. Forgive us. We want to be devoted to You, to Your Word, and to Your church. We ask You to help us put aside the worries of our day-to-day lives over the next few days so we can turn more of our thoughts toward You. Teach us what it looks like to be devoted to You and help us learn to be faithful in the small, simple acts of faith.

I want to be a devoted disciple of Christ. Don’t you? “And awe came upon every soul…” How much better would I serve Jesus if I lived my life in awe of him? I think I would experience more of his presence, just as the church in Acts did. May we each grow in devotion to God and to his people. May we become less distracted and more faithful. And may we grow in awe of our Father every day. 

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