Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Life of Devotion


Scripture
 
Acts 10:1   In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, as it was called.  2 He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God.  3 One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.”  4 He stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” He answered, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.  5 Now send men to Joppa for a certain Simon who is called Peter;  6 he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.”  7 When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his slaves and a devout soldier from the ranks of those who served him,  8 and after telling them everything, he sent them to Joppa.

Observation

Cornelius was a good and devout man who did not know about Jesus. He earnestly sought the face of God and was a leader who managed his own household well. Giving to others was a major feature of his life, as well as giving himself to prayer. While he was a Gentile, it was the sincerity of his motivations to which God responded. God had just used Peter to bring life to Tabitha, a woman who had been engaged in good works. Now, God would use Peter to transform this man’s good works and devotion into a Spirit-empowered new life in Christ.

Both the eunuch in Gaza and Cornelius in Caesarea were men of high rank. At the same time they were devout seekers of the truth and because of this, God responded to the deep desire of their heart. Both of these men had dignified positions, but they were especially devout and lived pious lives. What an incredible testimony when people of position humble themselves before God and are willing to be used as servant leaders.

He was a devout man who cared for his household but also his soldiers, and all the people. His devotion was not just a personal piety, but one which permeated every sphere of influence. This is what happens when one lives a life of devotion.

Application

Genuine devotion to God cannot be hidden for it will be visible in the way in which we live out our lives and the way in which we interact with our children, fellow employees and beyond.

The number of young people leaving the faith these days is quite astounding but the concerns they are voicing are very real. The disconnect between the expressed faith and the daily life have been far too visible in the lives of their parents or other influential adults and this has been disappointing. There is a deep desire to see faith lived out in word and deed in a way that is genuine and reflective of Christ. Not only our children, but the secular world is gazing in on Christianity and wanting to see authentic faith.

Authentic faith was being reflected in the life of a man who did not know Jesus. That’s pretty amazing. A life of devotion is necessary for God’s children and God will respond to those who are sincere. God will continue to work outside the bounds of traditional religion when there are those who are devout and are seeking with all their heart. We hear testimonies to this among refugees and persons of non-Christian faiths. If this can happen for people outside the Christian world, why not for those within? Maybe because there is a lack of devotion.

God’s people should be devoted in private and reflecting Christ in public.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to draw closer to you today and reflect you in all I do. Amen.

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