As Christian believers, we are called to many things. We are called to live differently than “the world” in so many ways that it’s easy to struggle with all the things we should do and believe differently. We are tempted to pick and choose because there’s only so much we can change at once.
Where’s the center? What if there were just one thing that would guide us into a complete Christian walk without some elaborate behavior-cataloging system running in our brains? There is.
The Apostle Paul mentions it in a scripture not particularly well known, 2 Corinthians 11:3: “… I fear you have been led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (NASB).
The Corinthians had things all messed up. They were dealing with sectarianism, pride, sexual sin, problems with communion, inappropriate use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, internal disputes, and more. In his first letter, Paul addresses all of these things, pointing them to Jesus in each of them. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is primarily devoted to Jesus as the motivation for everything that matters.
As he begins to close that second letter, he sums up the solution to all of their struggles with this: “I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Cor 11:2-3, NASB)
While we born-again types love to talk about “relationship, not religion,” with who or with what is our relationship? Upon examination, we may find that our devotion is to a church, a doctrine, or some set of Biblical ethics. All very righteous and godly, but is it a devotion to Jesus, the person? Paul puts his statement about devotion in the context of being the bride. Are we devoted to Him as a husband? Do we make our choices and live our Christian lives only because it is right? Or are we consciously aware of doing it from devotion to Him, the Man, the God, our Beloved? Do we do it because we know one day we will stand before Him and can offer our lives lived righteously as an offering of love and sacrifice for Him who loved us?
The 24 elders in Revelation have been given crowns as a reward for their righteous lives. They then cast those crowns at Jesus’ feet declaring that they lived as they did because they loved Him. Because they were devoted to Him. This was the motivation for their choices, not fear of judgment or devotion to doctrine, creed, or church.
Our gracious Father is working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). His good pleasure is to draw us to Jesus (John 6:44) and impart His love for Jesus into us (John 17:26). Then we can live our lives inspired by His love and cast our lives at His feet.