This story appears in FCA Magazine’s March/April 2017 issue. Subscribe today!
Devotion is a magnetic word that drives us toward the desires of our hearts. It’s the constant thought, action and effort put into what we treasure. Jesus reminds us to consider our allegiance because, as He says in Matthew 6:21, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
What we treasure tells us about the priorities in our lives. How we love our sport, love others, and love the things of God—or the things of this world—determines where we invest a good portion of our heart, time and talent.
Devoting yourself fully to something takes firing on all cylinders. If you want to be the best athletically, you throw yourself into hours of strenuous physical training, diligent nutrition and sharp mental focus. You endure months, even years, of determined sacrifice because your heart’s desire is for success.
Loyalty, enthusiasm and commitment. When you dive into something with devotion, you enthusiastically pursue it—whether it’s your sport, a favorite team, a relationship or anything else.
If you want to earn a spot as a starter, you stay late at the gym lifting and running sprints.
If you want to grow in a relationship, you spend more time with the other person to get to know them more intimately.
You dedicate your thoughts, abilities and energy into an array of areas of your life, many of them really good things, but to whom or what does your first fruit go?
As committed Christ-followers, our first devotion should be directed to God. He even puts this at the top of His directives in Exodus 20:3: “You must not have any god but Me.”
He gets top billing because, as He says one sentence before this command, He is the Lord God. He brings freedom, which creates an outpouring of enthusiasm to know Him and His freedom to a greater depth.
As Christians, we often refer to our time with God as “doing our devotions.” We use the word as a noun, an activity, a piece of ourselves being offered to Him.
What if we upped the strength of our spirits and fed our hearts with a little more substance, giving more passion, effort and willingness, more of ourselves, to make the most of relationship-building with Him? What if we tackled our time with God with a fervor and determination to shape our hearts to become more like His Son?
God wants you to remain in Him (John 15:5) so your heart beats in rhythm with His. Think about the change, not only in you but also in those around you, as Christ’s light shines through your life into theirs.
It all begins with a burning desire to dig deeper in your spiritual walk. That’s where we want to help.
In an effort to further strengthen and encourage our readers in their spiritual fervor beyond the magazine content available in print, online and through social media, FCA Magazine is excited to unveil our newly developed, five-day devotional reading plans available on the YouVersion Bible app.
New reading plans will be released along with each new issue, and each plan will focus on the issue’s specific theme. This process began with the first issue of 2017 featuring New York Giant Rashad Jennings on the cover and focused on the topic of “rest.” It continues with this issue’s theme of “devotion.”
Simply take a few minutes out of your schedule, slow yourself down and read a reflection passage pulled from a piece of magazine content, then let the selected Scriptures marinate as you reflect on leading questions that could make a difference in heart and life transformation.
The format stays the same each day, but with different content to create an array of topics to tackle as you strengthen Scripture memorization or soak in God’s Truth.
Consider these new reading plans as adding another dimension to your devotion time. The more you get in God’s presence, the deeper the desire to stay near Him. And now you can dig deeper into magazine content and spend time with God while going about your day.
Look to the right for an excerpt from this issue’s “devotion” reading plan with Day 1 focused on going “All In.” May you be encouraged to create a cadence of connection with the Lord that will lead you into new understanding of your life intertwined with His. And may His Word be a lamp unto your feet and light unto your path (Psalm 119:105).
CONTINUE THE FCA MAGAZINE “DEVOTION” READING PLAN
Download the YouVersion Bible app or visit YouVersion.com and search “FCA” to find and begin the five-day plan. Invite a teammate to join you on the journey, or make it a team challenge. Whatever the case, be devoted!
Day 1: All In (text below)
Day 2: Want To
Day 3: Devotion = Focus + Passion + Action
Day 4: Making A Point
Day 5: Well Done
Day 1: All In
Ready: “Never stop praying.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Set: We’re all devoted to something in our individual lives. The object of that devotion varies, but we can all identify with having a profound dedication to something. It’s an “All In” attitude backed by “All In” actions. Where do you spend most of your time? What do you think about most often? What brings you the most happiness and enjoyment?
As Christ-followers, our devotion to honoring God with our lives must be our top priority. A commitment to prayer, reading Scripture, listening to Christian music, being active in a church family, and serving those in need in our community are all core elements of devotion to God and living out His calling.
Our devotion to God through prayer is demonstrated by how “in touch” we remain with Him. Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV), we’re told: “pray without ceasing.”
Praying without ceasing does not necessarily mean praying every single minute of the day, but it is an encouragement to pray more than just a few minutes in the morning or evening. It’s an inspiration to develop that devotion to the Lord through a constant stream of communication. Much like a coach and his or her athletes, devotion is displayed in the time spent with one another and the sharing of thoughts, feelings and experiences. Spending perpetual time in prayer with God and bringing Him into every area of our lives is the definition of devotion for us here on earth.
The greatest heroes of the faith in the Bible all had a continuous line of communication with God to clearly hear, understand and follow His divine calling. The results of doing so are clearly stated in Joshua 3:5 (NIV) [editorial note added]: “Consecrate [or devote] yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
When you devote yourself to something, you commit to going “All In.” Whether that’s your faith, marriage, family, team, sport or career, the indicators of devotion are consistent time and effort. Spend that time and effort in communication with God to clearly hear from Him, and follow His calling wherever it may lead. And, as it says in Joshua, through that devotion, expect the Lord to do amazing things. – Shane Williamson
1. How much emphasis do you place on your sport versus your time with God?
2. Are there small ways you can start your day listening for God’s voice?
3. What does it look like to give God the first fruits of your heart and still be competitive?
Deuteronomy 6:5; Joshua 3:5; Jeremiah 29:13; Colossians 4:2
Overtime: Father, how much or how little time I spend with You makes a huge impact on how I live out my day. Help me to seek after You will all of my heart and intentionally be willing and wanting to hear what You have to say to me. Thank You for caring so much about me. Amen.
To download our new FCA Magazine Reading Plan: Devotion on YouVersion, click here.