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Undivided Devotion

“I am saying this for your own good . . .
That you may live in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
1 Cor. 7:35

 

I’ve been away for the past two weeks visiting family.  Normally I get on an airplane and leave the ‘driving’ to someone else, but this time I decided to travel by car.  During my 2700 mile road trip I had plenty of time to turn the radio off, listen to the hum of the tires on the highway and be still and know that God is God.  I had lots of time to think about planning for the year and priorities in my life. As I was thinking this passage of Scripture was brought to my mind.

 What was Paul saying when he wrote, “But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on even (1) those who have wives should be as  though they had none, (2) and those who weep, as though they did not weep; (3)and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; (4) and those who buy,  as though they did not possess (5)  and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it. For the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:29-31).

Paul seems to be saying in these two sentences that we are to ignore our personal relationships, deny our emotions, and forget about paying our bills. Is this what he meant? Or was Paul saying that in light of the brevity of life and the shortness of time, we can’t afford to let anything in this world – not marriage, not sadness, not happiness, not material possessions, not anything that passes away so quickly – come between us and our eternal relationship with God.

It is this second interpretation that I believe is consistent with Paul’s others letters. Sensing the shortness of time, Paul seems to be silently shouting, “Wake up! Open your eyes! It’s getting late and time is short! We can’t afford to give ourselves to those things that will not last. We can’t afford to give our hearts in blind devotion to a marriage partner! Our emotions are not as important as they feel! We can’t take our material possessions with us!”

I know such thinking sounds extreme, but there is wisdom in Paul’s “madness.” He knew that a man who is more interested in pleasing the Lord than he is in pleasing his wife is a better husband than those who worship their wives. He knew that a wife who is more interested in submitting to God than she is in submitting to her husband is the best friend a man could have. He knew that property owners and investors who love God above all else are the only ones who can use this temporary world that is passing away without being possessed by it.

He explains that time for doing the Lord’s work is short and is quickly coming to an end. There never seems to be enough time in the day to do all we want or feel like we need to do. And the older we get, the quicker each year seems to fly by.  Tempus fugit!

So Paul warns every believer not to be overwhelmed by the social and material problems of this world, but to live as for the Lord in all things. In our personal relationships, we should live for the Lord. If life brings sadness, live beyond it, and do not be bound by it. If things are joyous, don’t be engrossed by them, but realize where those joyous times come from. Those who are blessed with material possessions are not to cling to them as though they will always have them, but are to use them in wise and productive ways to further God’s kingdom.

God wants every part of each of us – our minds, our wills and our emotions. He wants  our “undivided devotion” in all we do. He wants to be at the center of every thought, every word, and every deed. He is a jealous God (Deut. 4:24).

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33), he was reminding us as Paul, that God must come first. He must be our number one priority on our daily ‘To Do’ list. When He comes first, everything else falls into place.

Where is God in your life today? Does your relationship with Him and His son, Jesus Christ, take precedence over all other relationships in your life? Does your day begin and end with Him, or has He become an addendum to your daily plans?

Everything in this world is passing away. The only thing that will not is our relationship with God. Are you living in undivided devotion to the Lord? If not, then why not begin now. Just do it, because as Paul said, “It is for your own good. . . ”

May you each have a glorious week acknowledging the primacy of the Triune God in your life. . . rejoicing as you submit to His Will in all things!

Blessings and Peace to You All,

Pastor Mark

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Categories: Christian Living
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