(multiple references) “…and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:18-19
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel…and the Holy Spirit was upon him…” Luke 2:25-26
“And there was a prophetess, Anna…She did not depart from the Temple worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day…” Luke 2:36-37 (all punctuation changes mine)
Three people; confronted in various degrees of the coming of the Savior; responding in much the same way in principle. Why? How? And why is this an important example for me to deeply consider?
I have been taken with thinking about the idea of devotion lately. What does devotion look like and with what does it entail? There are self-examination questions to consider: Am I devoted? If so, what does devotion look like in me? If not: what do I need to change? So there are two questions obviously cascading from the main point: What is devotion generally and what is it specifically?
Devotion probably isn’t a disciplined keeping of the Spiritual Disciplines only (if you don’t have this book by Donald Whitney, get it. It is a must have for our personal library). Continuing: Devotion probably cannot be reduced to what can be a “checklist of daily action” although such a checklist can certainly help in producing reflexive Christian actions and attitudes.
Devotion may be described as a result of “continual improvement” through maturity; the result of the process of “pressing in”; of being fierce and vigorously pursuing Jesus and His Word. Three example of conduct to imitate are:
* Mary: She TREASURED what she heard; She PONDERED them in her heart.
* Simeon: He CULTIVATED not only his CONDUCT (righteous and devout) but also his FOCUS (looking for the consolation of Israel) and the PURSUIT OF GOD (the Holy Spirit was upon him).
* Anna: She PERSERVERED daily on certain devotional actions (fasting, prayer, worship)-and that no matter where the sun was in the sky (night and day).
How do I do these things? I am hardest on myself because I think I do badly. But as I look at the guy in the mirror I am reminded that this is part and parcel of pressing into Christian maturity. I don’t get a “one and done” pass. God says in His Word that He “is conforming me into the Image of the Son.”(Romans 8:29) With that fact firmly in the crosshairs the question now will be: Shall I be passive about devotion or active?” I don’t think “passivity” brings the Holy One pleasure…
O Holy Spirit: Bluntly I ask: Keep me from passivity concerning You. Help me to treasure and cultivate You, Your presence, and the knowledge of You through Your Word. Please let that Joy exult in my heart and mind. Help me to ponder Your Gospel and all of its marvelous implications and facets all the days of my life. AMEN.