Anna was an elderly prophetess, maybe around 106 years old. She lived in Jerusalem. Anna was married for seven years when her husband died. The Bible tells us that Anna stayed in the temple day and night worshipping God. She spent all her time praying and fasting. She spent her time ministering to God.
Luke 2:36-37 NKJV
“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”
God showed Anna His secret (who the Redeemer was) because of her intimate relationship with Him. During our times of intimacy with God, He will whisper secrets, mysteries and revelations into our ear.
Luke 2:38 NKJV
“And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
Anna was in the temple when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to present to the Lord. When she saw Jesus, she immediately gave thanks to God. She physically saw what God had already shown her in the spirit.
The dictionary tells us that devotion means having a strong attachment or attraction to a person or cause. To be devoted is to be dedicated, to be completely applied to some activity, purpose, or person. To have devotion to someone or something means you won’t allow anything to distract you from doing what needs to be done.
Anna was devoted to worshiping God. She had a strong affection for God, and completely dedicated her whole life to ministering to Him through prayer and worship. She didn’t let anything distract her from her purpose. Her purpose was worshiping God and she knew it. Fulfilling her purpose brought great joy and blessings to her.
“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Harken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”
When we draw close to God, we begin to experience peace and joy that we can’t find anywhere else. When we fill ourselves up with God’s purpose (to worship Him), our souls will find a special delight.
Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
First and most importantly we should be devoted to God. Nothing should ever distract us.
1. We should be devoted to knowing Him.
2. We should be devoted to obeying Him.
3. We should be devoted to living a life that is pleasing to God.
We should not be lukewarm concerning our devotion to God or to the things of God. We should never be halfhearted in our love and devotion to God.
Revelation 3:16 NKJV
“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Devotion to God involves all aspects of our life, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing- in public or in private. God desires for us to be single-minded. If we are double-minded we will be unstable, even in our devotion to God.
James 1:8 NKJV
“He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
I. We Should Be Devoted To Knowing God
To “know” someone describes an intimate relationship that includes ardor (warmth of emotions, great enthusiasm, eagerness, zeal), passion (very strong feeling or emotions, very strong love or desire), mutuality and oneness (one in kind, singleness, unity, agreement, harmony).
Jeremiah 24:7 NKJV
“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”
Mary and Martha are good examples of devotion to two different things. Mary was devoted to knowing Jesus intimately (worshiping), and Martha was devoted to working for Jesus (serving).
Mary, Martha and Lazarus were friends of Jesus. Jesus would sometimes stop at their house when He was traveling in their area. Martha was the oldest female in the house, so she was in charge of running the household.
Luke 10:38-39 NKJV
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”
One day Jesus stopped by for a meal, and Martha hurried to get everything ready. Martha worked hard and she began to get tired. She looked for Mary because she wanted help.
Luke 10:40 NKJV
“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
Martha found Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to Him. Martha looked at Jesus and said, “Lord, Don’t you care that my sister has left all the work for me to do? Tell her to help me!”
Luke 10:41-42 NKJV
“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha probably thought Jesus was going to go and make Mary help her. Instead Jesus looked gently at Martha and said, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.”
The Bible doesn’t tell us what Martha’s response was. We don’t know what Martha did. She could have went back into the hot kitchen mad, angry and hurt or she could have fell to her knees in front of Jesus and cried out, “Jesus, forgive me!”
We don’t have to wait for Jesus to pass through our town to minister to Him. He is always with us. Jesus is always near us and always listening. When we realize who Jesus is, spend time with Him, and direct our attention toward Him we are “sitting at His feet.” We must talk to Him, learn about Him, and listen to Him. We must allow Him to pour His love into us and change us.
When you love someone, you want to spend time with that person. Jesus loves us and wants to spend time with us. We are His bride. He enjoys our company! Jesus wants us to feel the same about Him. He wants us to love Him so much that we want to spend time with Him.
II. We should Be Devoted To Obeying God:
God demands obedience. We must be devoted to obeying God. Sincerity and obedience are prerequisites for worship that pleases God. The sacrifice that Saul made to God was not pleasing to God because Saul disobeyed God. God tells us in His Word that obedience is better than sacrifice.
1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV
“So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great
delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of the rams”
God desires that everyone have an intimate relationship with Him, but you cannot if there is disobedience (sin) in your life. Unconfessed sin interferes with a person’s relationship with God.
Psalm 51:10 NKJV
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
You cannot be devoted to obeying God unless you allow Him to take your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 11:19-21 NKJV
“’Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.”
III. We Should Be Devoted To Living A Life That Is Pleasing To God:
Each one of us should be devoted to living a life that is pleasing to God. A life that reflects Jesus Christ. When we spend time with God, He can change us. He makes us more like Him. When we draw close to Him, He comes into our lives, our thoughts and our hearts. The more time we spend in God’s presence, the more we will reflect Jesus.
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Anything can take our attention away from God, both good and bad things. Good activities (including church programs, schedules, and campaigns) as well as bad circumstances (such as worry, fear, sickness and tragedy) can distract us from God. Anything that we allow to crowd out our time with God separates us from intimacy with Him. How we spend our time gives us a good idea of what things are the most important to us.
“Lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
These verses tell us not to store up treasure on earth, but to store up treasure in heaven. It tells us that where our treasures are there our hearts will be also. We must not let ourselves become distracted by things or people in our love and devotion to God. God desires to shower us with His incredible love and to reveal Himself to us. God wants us to delight in Him, to be devoted to Him, and to desire to be in His presence.
Psalm 27:4 NKJV
“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.”