Of Growth
And Strength

Our Motives in Devotion

Many in this day consider reading devotional writings and the short missives of daily devotionals as an important part of their religious experience, and that our reading and meditation on these devotional writings help us focus our hearts and souls for a few moments out of our day toward God, effectively rendering unto God our daily spiritual service.

As Spiritual and Holy that one might consider this experience and lifestyle, the truth of what these practices represent before God can be found below in the definitions provided by Noah Webster on Devotion.

In Webster’s Dictionary we find the word Devotion defined as follows:

1 a: religious fervor: piety b: an act of prayer or private worship —usually used in plural c: a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation2 a: the act of devoting <devotion of time and energy> b: the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal <her devotion to the cause> <filial devotion>3obsolete : the object of one's devotion

Fidelity 1 a: the quality or state of being faithful b: accuracy in details: exactness2: the degree to which an electronic device (as a record player, radio, or television) accurately reproduces its effect (as sound or picture)

Synonyms: fidelity, allegiance, fealty, loyalty, devotion, piety mean faithfulness to something to which one is bound by pledge or duty. fidelity implies strict and continuing faithfulness to an obligation, trust, or duty <marital fidelity>. allegiance suggests an adherence like that of citizens to their country <pledging allegiance>. fealty implies a fidelity acknowledged by the individual and as compelling as a sworn vow <fealty to the truth>. loyalty implies a faithfulness that is steadfast in the face of any temptation to renounce, desert, or betray <valued the loyalty of his friends>. devotion stresses zeal and service amounting to self-dedication <a painter's devotion to her art>. piety stresses fidelity to obligations regarded as natural and fundamental <filial piety>.

Piety 1: the quality or state of being pious: as a: fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents) b: dutifulness in religion: devoutness

Devoutness 1: devoted to religion or to religious duties or exercises2: expressing devotion or piety <a devout attitude>3 a: devoted to a pursuit, belief, or mode of behavior: serious, earnest <a devout baseball fan> <born a devout coward — G. B. Shaw> b: warmly sincere

Webster’s definitions here of Devotion are primarily Roman Catholic and Calvinist in their characterization of Devotion and thus miss the mark of any biblical sense of the word devotion or being devoted to God. So that if we were to link all the meanings together of Devotion and its synonyms, we would see in Webster’s Dictionary Devotion is being defined as one “Attending the Mass daily” and one’s dutifully observance of all the Roman Catholic Church’s rituals – as the means of touching and pleasing God. Or in the Case of Calvinism, one’s Pious observance in prayer, church attendance, and utter dedication to following with fidelity and great exactness John Calvin’s doctrines and traditions, as a means of demonstrating one’s fidelity and faithfulness to God.

Notice that the above definitions are cold, and impersonal and evocative of a bunch of mind numbed robots following a mechanical means of servicing the demands of their religious order.  (It is because these definitions follow the edicts of spirituality as defined by late 18th century Roman Catholicism and 6th century Roman Catholicism as taught by the Roman Catholic Doctor and Augustinian monk John Calvin.) So that in effect in both cases the priesthood of all believers, ones devotion, the outworking of one’s personal religious fervency is understood as each believer and convert becoming, in effect, Roman Catholic and or Calvinist monks and nuns. And this explains the dress of the most ardent sects of Calvinists as to their dress of their men and their women. The men are dressed in black with hats as Friars, and the women are dressed in black nun habits being fully covered and hid.

With these things said in this manner under the illumination of the Holy Spirit many will straight forward declare that the above definitions (Other than one being Devoted or Faithful to God) bear little resemblance of how they personally seek to be seen of God, heard of God, and to touch God through their devotional readings and the like.   

The notion of reading devotionals out of a sense of spiritual duty, or as a means of meeting one’s obligation of showing their devotion to God completely falls short in the eyes of the Lord.  It is as if you date a woman or propose marriage and tell her that you only are doing so out of a sense of obligation and duty.

While it may come as a surprise to some, God in scripture is not some gaseous vapor, some cosmic consciousness, or an empirical entity that dwells somewhere way out there in the great beyond. The Bible plainly states over and over that man was created in the image and likeness of God. Meaning that man looks something like God, having a body, arms, hands, feet, a head, eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, etc. And that this being created in God’s image and likeness is not limited just to the outer shell of our body,  Emotionally we are also crafted in God’s image and likeness, as God in Scripture hates, loves, is angered, has desires, has friends, has enemies, has those who He personally knows, and those who are strangers to Him.

So to say to God that you pray, that you attend church, that you read devotionals or whatever else you do as a Christian or believer out of a sense of “Obligation” or a sense of “Duty” is not viewed by God and/or Jesus Christ with any special warmth or gratitude for your rendering this kind of “Spiritual’ service no more than a wife would feel special warmth or gratitude for her husband to tell her he married her only because he had a sense of “Obligation” or a sense of “Duty” to do so. Or a husband tells his wife that he spends time with her only because he has a sense of “Obligation” or a sense of “Duty” to do so.

Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire. Mine ears hast thou opened. (David here is declaring he has had a prophetic revelation. That God has spoken and that he has heard the voice of the Lord.) Burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

In Psalm 51 David expands upon this revelation he has heard from the Lord.
Psalm 51:16-17
 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.  (David is declaring that: Our giving of ourselves unto God out of a sense of obligation and duty is not something that God desires, but rather that God despises such actions and deeds.)

The exercise of our reading short devotional thoughts and spiritually insightful missives as an aid and or means to focus our heart and thoughts for a few scant moments in the course of the day upon the Lord, upon His word, upon how to better serve Him, or how to better ourselves as believers – falls directly into this sense of obligation, duty, and spiritual exercise that the Lord does not desire and despises.

How can you suggest that my five to ten minute daily devotional reading, prayer and meditation is not acceptable to the Lord?

We will answer this question by examining what the Lord seeks in His people, what the Lord’s desire’s of us, and what turns the head of God toward an individual.

We have mentioned in previous articles that when Jesus Christ tells parables that these are not merely stories of peoples’ common experiences laced with varying degrees of truth (As I was taught when I was young Lutheran) or that Christ would just make up stories on a whim as was His prerogative being that He was God incarnate in the flesh. (As I was taught after I came to the Lord) But instead only in recent years did I come to know as the Holy Spirit revealed unto me that when Jesus Christ spoke in parables He was continually quoting and citing Scripture. (This is a very important foundational truth. Because it declares unto us that the parables of Jesus Christ have true meanings and exact interpretations rather than ascribing meanings and spiritualizing, their meanings by colors, numbers, and objects contained within these parables as is commonly done by preachers and teachers so any given parable or biblical text can mean a hundred different things just by a preacher or teacher’s say so.)

Luke 18:9-15 And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: (Those who were obedient and followed God’s commandments in dutiful obligation, but looked down upon those who did not so walk.) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (The Pharisee offered a prayer of his sacrifice and offerings [duty and obligation] vaunting their value and his before God for doing so – Which the Lord rejected.) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (The publican offered a prayer of a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, declaring his lack and need before the Lord – Which the Lord accepted.)  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (So here we see clearly that Jesus, in this Parable, is quoting David in Psalm 51:16-17 and the interpretation is thus made accordingly.) 

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (When we look again at the two men that went to pray in the temple, we observe that the publican walked in fear and reverence of the Lord, making no boast of himself nor of any sacrifices or offerings on his part so as to justify himself before God.)

Matthew 13:44-48 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid (Buried) in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, (Reburies the treasure and keeps its presence secret) and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Jesus Christ is our pearl of great price, so that to obtain Him there must be a full selling out of our possessions, our hopes, our dreams, our desires. And our acquiring of Him is our wholesale following after Him alone as our Lord, Master, Teacher, Guide and Covering.)

What we want to really focus on here is that the devotion that is spoken of here by Christ is not one of sacrifice and offerings, motivated by a sense of obligation or duty, but rather it is a joyous and joyful giving that is motivated by our love and heartfelt desire for the Lord.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live. That thou mayest (Mayest choose to) love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest (Mayest choose to) obey his voice, and that thou mayest (Mayest choose to) cleave unto him. For (That) He is (Might be) thy life, and the length of thy days --.

The key of spiritual devotion – is our state of heart, mind, and soul. God peers down upon not only our actions but the motivations that are hid in the deepest recesses of our beings. And if we are to confess the truth, there are times when our true motivations have become lost and hidden even to ourselves.

On this website we have spoken much to the value of repentance, humbling ourselves before the Lord and confessing our blindness, deafness, and ignorance of our offenses against God and our disobedience to the Words and Commandments of Jesus Christ. This is the best, the safest and strongest point from where one should begin from to strengthen and deepen their personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, (A living demonstration of God’s love towards one another) and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God (A personal intimate knowledge of God) more than burnt offerings. 

Psalm 103:7 He made known His ways unto Moses, (But only) His acts (Were made known) unto the children of Israel. (This verse illuminates to us the distinction between Moses and his personal deep abiding personal relationship with God – that in it God revealed tokens of Himself unto Moses, and the distant relationship that all of Israel chose for themselves so that they only knew the manifestations of God in their behalf.)

In the passage above, Hosea 6:6, the heart of God is revealed that above sacrifice and offerings, above worship and praise, above devotion from a sense of obligation and duty, God desires a joyous love, a cry of delight and a heartfelt cleaving unto Him as a small child so loves and clings to its parent.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live. That thou mayest (Mayest choose to) love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest (Mayest choose to) obey his voice, and that thou mayest (Mayest choose to) cleave unto him. For (That) He is (Might be) thy life, and the length of thy days --.

This choice of our so seeking, so loving, so obeying, and so cleaving – Is what true spiritual devotion is all about.

In our devotional prayer time, is not the true essence of our entering therein into spiritual fellowship with the Lord, our communing and partaking of His presence, and hearing and partaking of His voice so that we might receive Spirit and Life?

Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Father . . .

In our devotional Bible reading time is not the true essence of our entering therein into spiritual fellowship with the Lord, our communing and partaking of His presence, and hearing and partaking of His voice so that we might receive Spirit and Life?

There is no higher realm, greater depths, or more important spiritual ministry than our Spiritual Devotion unto God and His Son Jesus Christ.

The reason so many Christians are so spiritually bankrupt and destitute in this day and hour is they have placed their trust in worship services, in churches, in teaching from pastors and teachers and books and CD’s, and limiting themselves as well to the prepared daily devotional thoughts of others so that these things in whatever combination are part and parcel of the sum total of their weak and sickly spiritual experience and walk. In  doing these things, we severely limit our view of God to one that is from afar, just as the children of Israel did, instead of entering into their Full Spiritual Inheritance as Moses so did. 

The Lord is calling unto you personally, to come unto Him, and to willing yield so that He might clothe His yoke upon you. So that you might begin to truly learn of Him in all meekness and lowliness of heart. Entering into this experience will electrify your entire being.  So instead of walking in a completely underpowered 1.5 volt battery experience with frequent spiritual brown outs, and your batteries going flat at all the times you need their power most – as you become more deeply connected with the Lord you will come to be wired directly into the power grid. Just as it is declared in God’s word.  

Much of what is palmed off as spiritual experience today is the gospel of second-hand-Rose who had a second-hand-hat and second-hand-clothes. (An old secular song) Whereas God desires to bring us into a firsthand personal and intimate knowledge of Him, to clothe us with new and pure gowns of His righteousness, and put upon our heads His glory.

There is a cult of garbage bin diggers in the church who continually seek to clothe themselves in the filthy rags and tattered soiled mantles of all manner of men and ministries rather than seeking God for themselves so that He might so clothe them and make them unique vessels to shew forth His praise and Glory.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD. And thou (Individually) shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine (Own) heart, and with all thy (Own) soul, and with all thy (Own) might. And these Words, which I Command thee this day, shall be in thine (Own) heart.  (This commandment is for a personalized love and spiritual devotion.)

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Mark 12:29-34 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He. And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

Here we see that at the time of Christ a scribe saw the truth concerning sacrifice and offerings, the truth of praise and worship, and the truth of seeking God praying, and or even reading God’s word out of a sense of duty or obligation completely misses God’s mark and that which He seeks.

When Jesus said God seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth – He was not declaring that Spiritual worship is when we worship in the tongues of men and of angels.  He was not declaring that we go to a praise soaking, Jesus said none of the kind.

Worship in spirit and truth is: The expression of one’s joyous love for God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is a cry of delight and one’s heartfelt joy in cleaving unto Him as a small child so loves and clings to its parent.  

This is what Jesus meant when He said, declared: “Except if a man become as a small child He can not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Here Christ declares that this scribe had discerned the narrow gate to the kingdom that few find. And that gate is that God seeks a people that so seek Him, so love Him, so obey Him, and so cleave to Him out of a deep burning love, out of a bubbling effervescent joyfulness, out of the heartfelt delight of a small child.

The Lord would say to him that hath an ear to hear. Turn ye from your ways and hard heartedness. Turn ye from your empty and bankrupt ways and traditions, and turn ye unto Me wherein ye shall find life. Humble yourselves and turn away from the call of men unto themselves and their ministries for these can not save and heal and deliver. Turn ye unto Me and receive ye Spirit and Life that ye may live.