Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength –
What does it mean to be devoted? What does that look like in our everyday lives, in our words, in our thoughts? How are we to maintain our devotion, especially when things get difficult? And who will help us along?
We see that devotion begins, continues and ends with God. He is the one who calls us to himself and gives us salvation. When we fail, He will be the one to pick us up and lead us differently if we truly desire repentance. He will also surround us with believers and mentors – all imperfect – but all there to assist us and remind us of the glory we are waiting for.
Just as last week we saw how the call of God was a call to give; likewise the call to devotion is a call to forsake everything and everyone else. All of us are devoted to something: our hopes, our goals, our significant others; many of which are very good and possibly even gifts from God. But you must not fall into the trap of Romans 1:25 – they worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised.
Hannah in humility gave herself by relying on God in prayer. And when that prayer was answered, she gave the good gift of Samuel away out of her devotion to God.
Why did it have to be her son?
Yes, it foreshadowed the Gospel, and God was working towards a miraculous plan in Israel. But it had to be something as dear as her son because devotion will never ask you to give something that is easy for you to surrender. If you are only relying on Him for the most insignificant parts of your life; how important is he to you? If you are only giving to him the least valuable offerings and the smallest amount of energy, than what does that say about his worth to you?
True deep honest devotion is so incredibly hard because it is not satisfied with only a part of us. True devotion requires the entirety of who we are. True devotion takes over your thoughts and dreams and desires so that you really are a new creation, one headed in a completely different direction because of Christ and the Holy Spirit’s work in you.
As we continue through the book of Samuel we will see one of the greatest enemies of devotion. The sin of pride.
Most often pride is not a deliberate sin, like many others we commit. People do not step into the world and seek to become prideful. Rather it is something we drift towards. It is our natural tendency to be prideful, to glorify ourselves above others and above God. That is our desire as a human, self-exaltation.
For this, I have bad news and good news. The bad news is there is no way to stop being prideful. You will never become so holy that you just stop having prideful thoughts and attitudes, that will never happen on this side of glory. But there is good news.
The good news is, even though you may never be able to stop it, there are ways to battle it. Through confession and repentance, and the pursuit of righteousness God will lead you away from pride. But if you are not aiming and heading in the direction of godliness, then there is no other option but pride.
It is our default setting as fallen creatures.