44. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEVOTION AND DEVOTIONAL
Felix Ngunjiri Gichuri
Devotion means to devote yourself. To devote means to give all or most of one’s time or resources to a person or activity. Devotion as a noun is used to describe religious worship or observances such as prayers, services. Devotion according to our Christian beliefs is the act or state of devoting or being devoted to someone or something you love or treasure or are loyal to. It is longing for and seeking encouragement or nourishment from the word of God and is itself a form of worshipping God due to the love you have for His Word.
Devotion is defined as loyalty, love or practicing and believing in a specific religion. An example of devotion is what a dog feels for his kind master. An example of devotion is belief in the Christian faith and living as a practicing Christian.
God’s people across the ages have called devotional different names, such as quiet time or time with God, meditation, prayer time. In this context, we define devotional as the nourishing, edifying, and refreshing effects of time spent with God in His Word and prayer.
The devotional is a short inspirational piece of Christian writing for each day. A daily devotional provides a reading for every day of the year. By extension, it can also refer to any book with a collection of these brief devotionals for a period such as one year, month, or week.
First, the devotional life is a habit of diligently and consistently spending time with God, which creates the devotional effects on our lives. Devotional effect is the presence and power of God directly influencing the hearts and lives of His people as they devote their time to His Word and in prayer. This habit requires consistency, devotion, and dedication. Second, the devotional life describes the outward manifestations of the results of time with God. When we lead a devotional life, our lives will flourish as trees planted by rivers with effects in our spiritual lives, spiritual growth, and relationship with the Lord.
The devotional life is feeding and caring for our hearts. As diet and exercise strengthen and keep the body healthy, the Word of God and prayer strengthen and keep our hearts (spirit and soul) spiritually healthy. We can compare the devotional life to refilling the gas tank of a car. Every car needs gas (or fuel) to function. The best illustration of the devotional life in the scripture is that of a tree planted by the river. David describes a blessed man as the one who devotes his time meditating daily in the law of the Lord. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Ps 1:1-3 [ESV2011])
Daily devotionals nourish your heart and the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. Jesus told His disciples that He shall not leave them as orphans, but shall send them the Holy Spirit to be their companion. “However when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13-15 [KJV])
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 [KJV]) Every one is expected to sit as a disciple at the feet of Jesus, and continue in daily learning of His Word and in daily living abiding in Him to grasp the truth which will be revealed to him or her by the Holy Spirit.