We had a leadership staff meeting recently where we talked about the early church being devoted to a cluster of activities and values (see Acts 2:42-47 to see the things to which they were devoted). That word – DEVOTED – hit me. It really hit me.
Devoted people are happier people. Why? For three reasons (I am sure there are many more).
First, devoted people are “all in.” That means they are committed. They are not half-hearted. They are not wishy-washy. When you are devoted, you give it your all. You give the object of your devotion your best efforts. When you do that, you tend to do better and receive the benefit of being all in. Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us to do with all our might, whatever we find worth doing. It feels good to know you have really given a great effort to something that matters.
Second, devoted people tend to be focused people. You can’t be devoted to twenty things. You can only be devoted to a few things. That means you need focus, concentration, discipline, and intentionality. Whatever you focus on expands (a way of thinking that I first learned from Bruce Lee, the great martial artist). You can only be devoted to a few friends. You can have many acquaintances but just a few friends. When you devote your time and energy to a few friends, you and they get the maximum benefit. Scattered people who are all over the map are rarely content, satisfied, or successful. Focused people get to where they want to go. That feels great!
Third, devoted people tend to persevere. You persevere because you believe in what you are devoted to. You don’t get weary. You don’t stop halfway through the journey. You push on. Some people jump around from church to church. Or they attend one church for six months, another church for a year, and then on to somewhere else. Some people do this with dating (and even marriage). That is never a recipe for flourishing! Anything that truly matters takes time. It takes focused devotion on the things, projects, relationships, and purposes that matter most. Most good things in life require a process that is long, slow, deep, and difficult. In other words, perseverance and even plodding on toward the goal is needed.
For example, all world class athletes, musicians, performers, creators, artists, really anyone, is world class because they are devoted to something important to them.
Now, in this post I didn’t say anything about the object of your devotion. Obviously, that matters as well. There are many people who devote themselves to things that are unworthy of devotion. But the way life works, devotion usually gets results. Make sure the object of your devotion is worthy.
Right now, we are actually devoted to The Flourishing Project. Fifty days of focused attention and energy will get you good results. We are finding, receiving, and advancing in the life Christ has for us. God himself is the Center and the Source of all good things.
Which is why I always remind everyone that God is the one, true, worthy focus for devotion. Get God in the right place and you gain the possibility of all other things being rightly ordered. Get the first things first and you get second things added in. But get the first thing wrong and you tend to eventually lose all the second things as well.
How about you? Have you experienced the results of being devoted to something? And aren’t you glad that Christ is devoted to making you into his own image?
P.S. I pray you know that I am devoted to you and the purposes of God unfolding in your life.
Having the ability to empower and resource leaders to bear much fruit that lasts. Being a part of a team of friends and missional servants committed to changing the world.