Jesus called his followers so that they would be with him: “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him …” (Mark 3:14). Because Jesus loved them and brought them near, they were changed forever. The Great Commandment, which once seemed impossible to obey, became a natural response to Jesus’ love for them: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). The single call, “Follow me,” led to a lifetime of devotion to God.

After Jesus ascended to the Father, his followers continued in their devotion to him. “and they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul …” (Acts 2:42-43). The apostles were singled out for having been with Jesus: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Since then, all followers of Jesus have been marked by devotion to God. Christians aren’t primarily devoted to an idea or to a philosophy of life. They are devoted to a person: Jesus Christ. Absolute devotion to Jesus is required of all who follow him, as he said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37-38). True followers of Jesus are devoted to him above everything else because they have discovered that Jesus is more precious than everything else (Philippians 3:8).

We express devotion to God through the Word, through prayer, and through obedience. In the Word, we hear God’s voice; in prayer, God hears our voice; and in obedience, we respond to what God has said. As we love God by talking with him and obeying him, as we walk with him hour-by-hour — just like the disciples — we become more like the Savior who loved us first. Devotion to God is not reserved for a fifteen-minute “quiet time.” Devotion to God demands all of your life. Remember the “all’s” of the Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.” Because God gave his all for you, devotion to him demands all of you.

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