Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thoughts on a word....

Have you ever had a child ask you what a particular word means?

I love to tell them: "Look it up in the dictionary." They will huff and puff, then sigh and try to manipulate me into telling them what the word means. 90% of the time I don't give in. After they find it (in a real dictionary with pages -- not online) I love to have them read the definition aloud. I am usually surprised by a few of the other descriptive words in the definition. Those will cause a "hmmmmm" in my brain, making me ponder and reflect. The synonyms and antonyms often shed additional light on the definition. Often causing me to say to myself, "I've never thought of it that way before."

This week, it wasn't a particular word that the kids asked me about. It was one the Lord laid on my own heart. I have been struggling with busyness and making time for Him in the morning. I will ask my kids, "Have you had your devotions?" but then lack to make time for my own. Yeah, I know, I know - practice what you preach!

I often wonder who came up with the term "devotions" used to describe that personal time of study and prayer. I started thinking about devotions in general. Most believers have times in their life when their daily devotions are out of duty. Sometimes rushed without hearing the Lord truly speak. They are not out of a sense of joy. Sometimes they are done just to put a check mark next to the the daily reading, so we can feel good about ourselves. But are we really progressing on the journey towards sanctification?

I had to do what the I tell my kids and look up the word, wanting to have a better grasp of what they are and are not. Here it goes with my thoughts/questions in a different color:

de·vo·tion –noun
1. profound dedication; consecration.
Am I dedicated daily to the Lord? Do I offer myself up and surrender to do His will? And profound? How am I doing in that area?
2. earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
Am I living out my "earnest attachment" to Christ? Or am I earnestly attached to my family or things of this world?

3. an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.: the devotion of one's wealth and time to scientific advancement.
He has given me a purpose -- what am I doing with it?

4. Often, devotions. Ecclesiastical. religious observance or worship; a form of prayer or worship for special use. How is my attitude when approaching my devotions, quiet time, time of study? Do I see it as a time of worship?

[—Synonyms 2. zeal, ardor. See love. Zeal? Love...OK, love makes sense, but I'll look it up anyways....
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor Would I describe my walk as one with fervor? An eager desire for Christ and being transformed into His image? Am I enthusiastic? Am I diligent?
—Synonyms intensity, passion.
—Antonyms apathy. :0 Yikes! Am I apathetic towards my Savior? Truthfully, I am at times. :(
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

Now to look up the word "love". I was quite surprised to see 28 distinct definitions! I bolded the words that stood out to me. I've cut out the others for sake of space.

love noun, verb, loved, lov·ing. –noun
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.
12. the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
15. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
16. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
17. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
18. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
19. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
Do I embrace my time with Christ and studying His Word as I would that time when my husband comes in the door from work? Do I look forward to that time with anticipation?
21. to have love or affection for another person; be in love.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

My encouragement to you is this. Step back and take an assessment of your walk. Will you always be 100% on? No. But you can watch for warning signs and keep from drifting. I am praying that you and I will make time for our devotions --daily. Not out of duty or of guilt, but with a heart of love, that is passionate about your Creator - Redeemer - Lord - Savior - Lover of your soul.

And just because...

ap·a·thy n.
Lack of interest, concern, or emotion; indifference.
Double YIKES!
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical DictionaryCopyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.