By Ryan Shaw
Ryan is the international lead facilitator of SVM2.
Last week we began with an introduction of what it means to live lives of “Abandoned Devotion” to Jesus. We are called to be people of love because we know that Christ first loved us. Operating out of this mentality of being loved and loving, we choose to abide in Christ and walk daily with Him as our Source.
Stepping out and moving toward this standard of love activates God’s enabling and empowering grace in our lives. There is a reason that it is the “first” commandment. The other standards which God calls us to embrace as true believers become easier for us to grasp only as we are obedient to this “first” calling.
God’s greatest priority in a person’s life is not what they do with their lives but what their lives are becoming. He is mostly concerned about forming us into the image of Christ Jesus and enabling us to walk just as Jesus walked.
His high calling in discipleship, counting the cost, taking up our cross, embracing accusation and persecution, cultivating humility and meekness, forming deep character and integrity, loving Him above family and even our own lives, all become possible only through His enabling power which comes in response to a wholehearted commitment to the first commandment.
Constant Meditation on the Word
Since we know that the human heart is only made aware of God’s love through this reality being revealed to it, it is imperative that believers become a people seeking consistent revelation from God about Himself and His huge heart. An appropriate prayer to pray over and over is, “Lord, reveal Yourself to me!”
God has made this revelation plain through His Word and yet how easily we miss it. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal this heart chapter by chapter and page by page. We do this by inviting the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth, to teach and instruct our hearts through His Word. One of the most important activities we do as believers is to gaze and meditate upon Jesus in the Word and delight in His multitude of attributes, emotions, ways, thoughts and more.
This only comes by ongoing revelation from the Spirit as we give ourselves to the work of seeking Him in prayer and through studying the bible. Seeing Him for who He is in His supremacy, over time, propels us to align our hearts and lives more with His will in the earth and what our particular role in that will might be. This is proven as believers who have chosen to follow Jesus with abandoned devotion are the ones who are most aligned with clear understanding of the will of God generally and for their individual lives.
A Life Bent on Loving God
When a measure of the will of God is made known to us by the Lord we have a choice to make. Will we surrender to that will or reject it in favor of what we have envisioned and desired for our lives? Will we trust that the Lord really knows what is best for us or seek to construct our own plans? Again, we return to the importance of pursuing the First Commandment.
A life bent on loving God in each of the four categories will eventually see God’s faithfulness demonstrated. When this happens our hearts are buoyed in confidence before God that He indeed can be completely trusted and will take care of every area of our lives according to His will as we surrender each one to Him accordingly.
Pursuing a life of abandoned devotion means we willingly choose to surrender that which we hold dear in exchange for that which God has ordained for us. Many believers stumble here because deep down they have not cultivated a life of trust in the unseen God. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,
“…and you are not your own…for you were bought at a price.”
As blood bought followers of Jesus Christ we are legally Another’s. We are His for the dual purpose of enjoying Him and bringing Him great glory on the earth and He knows better then anybody the best way to make this happen. The first step is choosing to trust not in our own understanding but placing our confidence in His ability to hold true to His Word to care for us.
Cultivating Our Spiritual Lives
A believer who has abandoned devotion for Jesus as a priority will be intentional in cultivating their spiritual life. They will not be casual in their discipleship but purposeful and focused in developing spiritual disciplines. They will care about how their time, money, energies and gifts are spent, knowing they will be held accountable before the Lord.
They will cut things out of their life which hinder their ability to cultivate love for Jesus and get around people who inspire a deep passion for Christ. They will be careful about every word they speak, aware of the high standard Jesus places on words. They have eternity in their hearts and seek first the Kingdom of God. They respond to every convicting check from the Holy Spirit and repent quickly when they falter.
As they dwell with the Lord more and more and longer and longer they become more sensitized to His voice and His leading. Those pursuing abandoned devotion deeply enjoy hearing the voice of the object of their love. Our hearts are strengthened with spiritual confidence by hearing His voice.