Take a step back in time with me and you will remember a song on the movie Grease sung by Olivia Newton John entitled Hopelessly Devoted To You. When I was little I knew every song in the movie Grease and loved to sing along while watching the movie. One of my favorite songs of course was this song, which I would act out with great emotion :-).
This past week in Ladies Bible study we were studying Act 2 and the early church. I know you’re wondering what this song and Acts 2 have in common, just bear with me and I will explain. The early church saw amazing growth, it says daily the Lord added to their number. As we were studying this passage, we discussed this phenomenal growth and if it could happen again and if it could, why did we not see it occurring today. We had great discussion and all believed that of course God is able to do this even today. So then why do most churches see little to none of this? Well, if you look back up in the chapter, Luke tells us about this early church. He list four things that they were devoted to; the apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer.
The word devoted means faithful, constant, loyal, devout or zealous (fervent, passionate, intense). Therefore the early church was passionate, constant, faithful to learn from the teaching of others, to fellowshipping together, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. We must remember that this group was made up of many new believers, therefore, they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. Why, because they were hungry for God’s Word, they wanted to know what was right and wrong, how to live, how not to live….they wanted to know more! They devoted themselves to fellowship. They were living in a perilous time, Jesus has just been crucified and many were afraid what that meant for them once others knew they followed Christ. Therefore, they understood the need for fellowship with others who were like-minded, that they might find the encouragement and strength they needed. They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread. The night before the crucifixion, Jesus broke the bread and told them to do this in remembrance of Him. Thus, they were devoted to remembering the sacrifice of Christ and to giving thanks for His broken body and blood. Finally, they were devoted to prayer, for they realized apart from the Lord they could do nothing!
I believe that because of this great devotion they had unto the Lord, they saw the hand of God do amazing things in their midst. I have spent much time contemplating this verse this past week.Could it be that our churches today are not devoted to these things, truly? As I have thought on this I’ve had to go one step further and ask myself am I devoted to these things? For I believe we too could see and experience maybe not the exact same growth, but the same power of God in our churches today and in our own lives. God hasn’t changed so the problem lies not with Him, but with our churches and our own lives. What are we devoted to? I believe we can learn a lot from the early church. No matter how long we have been saved, we should be devoted to learning more and growing in Christ. We need to be devoted to fellowshipping with other believer, for none of us are immune to discouragement. Every day we should give thanks for the sacrifice of Christ and remember the grace of God extended to us. Finally, we too must be devoted unto prayer.
Which leads me back to the song, as I thought about the word devoted, I couldn’t help but remember this song. Nor could I help but ask myself what am I devoted to? Am I like the early church truly devoted to the things of God. I’d like to say yes and believe I do strive for this, yet I am also aware of the many distractions in my life that deter me from these things. To be devoted to something or someone means putting that person/thing first, it means sacrifice, it means discipline. I realize I have much more growing to do, need much more discipline before I can say I’m truly devoted to the Lord and His work.
How about you, I challenge you to examine your own life. What are you devoted to? Here’s a hint, that which you spend the most time doing or whom you spend the most of your time with is a good indicator of where your devotion lies. You may be thinking well, certainly it’s okay to be devoted to my family, my job etc. The answerer is yes! Yet, another question remains, are you more devoted to these things/people than the Lord? I believe how we answer that question will show us where we need to grow and what we need to improve upon.
This was a very humbling lesson to learn, a very convicting thing to have to teach upon. Yet, if your like me, I’m thankful for the Lord’s kindness that leads me to repentance and the opportunity to repent and change.