“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”—Psalm 27:4
Today, when we think of devotions and devotional books, most of us tend to think of an appropriate expression or short exposition of a passage of Scripture for comfort or encouragement as that which may be applied to our lives to strengthen our faith. Actually, that is a meditation. It is a pondering, a consideration, even mumbling of the mouth (for the hearing of the ear), what the Word of God has said. We find it most famously in Psalm 1:2,
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The first occurrence of this Hebrew word in particular is found as a command to Israel prior to entering the Promised Land after the death of Moses, the servant of God:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. —Joshua 1:8
These meditations are a part of a devotional life, but in itself is not a devotional life; for many people may ponder and consider the deep things of God’s truth, but not be devoted unto Christ.
Devotion means to be devoted; and for the Biblical Christian, it is devotion to one: Christ Jesus. Jesus said that any allegiance to anyone other than to Him, should be treated as hated and altogether sinful:
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. —Luke 14:26-27
Taking from a verse of Scripture provided in our Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan today, Psalm 27:4 gives us a few insights into true devotion unto Jesus Christ.
Devotion to Christ is particular. “One thing…” It is singular in focus.
Devotion to Christ is personal. “…I have…” It is not reliant upon the faith of others; but relies only upon that which is received by God’s grace.
Devotion to Christ is passionate. “…desired of the LORD…” It is undivided in loyalty, unhindered by circumstance, undaunted through its importunity.
Devotion to Christ is persevering. “…that I will…” It is determined, adamant and committed, understanding that, although God is sovereign, His sovereignty never relinquishes man’s responsibility with God, accountability to God, and culpability before God.
Devotion to Christ is pursuing. “…seek after;” It searches until that goal is reached, satisfied, and glorifying to God through Christ Jesus. In seeking, it strives against all hindrances until it is subdued or removed: leaving no question unasked, no stone unturned, no door unopened.
So what is the goal? The answer to that is what our devotion contains. We are given three of those elements in our Scripture verse.
Devotion to Christ contains union with Christ. “…that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life…” It is a life abiding with the Father through the Son, which contains a unity with the brethren, so that we may be one with the Son and the Father, as they are one with one another.
Devotion to Christ contains communion with Christ. “…to behold the beauty of the LORD…” It contains all the means given by the special revelation of God’s Word to worship Jehovah God for all the heavenly beauty that He has given; and that, most especially found in, by, and through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes meditations upon His holy Word: considering, pondering, inquiring, beholding.
Devotion to Christ contains participation. “…and to enquire in his temple.” It contains the blessed growth in grace and strengthening of faith to draw nearer God, to come confidently to the throne of grace in our petitions, supplications, and intercessions, and to go forth by the revelation of God’s Word to have that Word display, fulfill, and glorify Christ in, with and through our lives.