As we begin this journey of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting and going deeper in our relationship with the Lord through these devotionals, I thought it might be helpful to do a devotional on “devotion.”
What is devotion?
One of the best pictures of devotion that I can think of comes from John chapter 12:1-8. There, we read an unforgettable story about Mary, who throws a dinner party in honor of Jesus, and takes an extremely costly jar of perfume and pours it all out on Jesus’ feet and wipes his feet with her hair. You see, in the previous chapter, Mary’s brother, Lazarus, had gotten sick, and he died… But four days later, Jesus arrived on the scene and raised him from the dead.
You can imagine the gratitude, the love, and the wonder that Mary felt for Jesus in that moment. So, when they threw a dinner for Jesus in her hometown, Mary saw an opportunity to do something beautiful for the Lord. Mary responded by taking the most valuable thing she owned, and she broke the bottle and poured it all out on Jesus’ feet.
Here are a few principles we can learn about devotion from Mary:
1. Mary spent time with Jesus. Mary and her sister Martha intentionally planned a dinner and invited Jesus to come.
Principle: In your devotional time, intentionally plan your time to spend with the Lord, as Mary did. Maybe for you, that will be in the morning before you leave your house. Pastor Heiden quoted Tim Ferris recently when he said, “If you WIN the morning, you will WIN the day.”
2. Mary made her time with Jesus personal by wiping his feet with her hair.
Principle: In your devotional time, make your time with Jesus personal. Share your love and appreciation for Jesus as well as your desires, fears, and anxieties in prayer.
3. To Mary, Jesus was the most important person in her life. When she poured out her most valuable possession on Jesus’ feet, it was as if Mary was saying, “Jesus, you are not one more thing in my life with everything else. You’re more important than anything else to me. You’re the most valuable thing, the most!”
Principle: In your devotional time, that is what you are saying to Jesus. We are reordering our affections, placing Jesus at the top of the list. Don’t hold anything back from Jesus in your time with him.
4. Mary let her hair down to wipe his feet with her hair. In that culture, that was something that a woman would only do in the presence of her family.
Principle: In your devotional time with the Lord, you can be “at home” with him. We can be ourselves. He knows us better than we do, and he loves us anyway!
5. Verse 3 tells us that “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” The fragrance of the perfume was still attached to Mary’s hair. Everywhere that Mary went, people knew that she had been with the Lord. I’m reminded of a poem. The poet Sa’di said something like this: He asked the clay pot, “why do you smell so sweet?” The clay responded, “It is because… I have been with the rose.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 says that we are like jars of clay, but we hold the beautiful treasure of the gospel of Jesus within us. And 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 tells us that Christ leads us in victory, and “through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
Principle: Expect to be changed! Spending devoted time with the Lord will change you in a way that will be obvious to the people you are with. They will know that you have been with the rose.