On Becoming Fully Devoted

To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.” (Col.1:28, MSG)

A phrase we sometimes hear in church is about becoming “fully devoted followers of Jesus.” This is a good thing. The biblical assumption is that all believers in Christ would become his disciples and be fully devoted ones at that.

We usually, however, get snagged up on the “fully devoted” part. We are all aware of how much we fall short. Whatever image we have in our mind of what a “fully devoted follower” looks like, we are sure it’s not us. So, we live with a churning anxiety that we are not who we should be, and hear the nagging voice that constantly demands, “You should try harder.”

We attempt to bridge this transformation gap in a variety of ways. Some of us think we need a better grip on our understanding of God. Spiritual maturity, then, becomes an acquisition of truths to comprehend. Some of us embark on a personal morality crusade trying to shore up our behavior hoping that will propel us across that gap. (And anybody who is not doing as “good” as we are, is certainly not as fully devoted.) Sometimes, if we were honest, we just simply fake it. Becoming like Christ seems so unattainable, so we fake it as best we can and live with a deep sense of hypocrisy. Or, for some, we just simply give up the pursuit.

Perhaps we need a new way of what it means to be a “fully devoted follower” of Jesus. Yes, the goal for every believer is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Gal. 4:19). We, however, tend to think of goals in terms of being linear and having an endpoint. We surmise that a goal is somewhere far, far “out there.” When we move from where we are and finally reach where we want to be, we’ve achieved our goal. Our job is to figure out how to get “there.”

But at the end of the day, because goals by their very nature are something we must constantly strive for, we know we still haven’t made it. Even just 5% short, is still short. If we assume the Christian life is something strive for and achieve, we can never rest, and anxiety and disappointment will be our constant companions. In our journey to Christlikeness, we will scarcely experience true rest, contentment, or joy.

I believe our hearts have the capacity to be fully devoted…every day. When we surrendered our lives and accepted Jesus’ invitation of forgiveness and to a new life with Him, we were fully devoted at that moment. In that moment of God’s invitation and our surrender, we were as fully devoted as we could be. Invitation and surrender: that’s how our spiritual journey began, and that is how it continues.

Christlikeness is not an end game to achieve by personal strategies, elaborate methods, or clever schemes …but is an increasingly, lifelong task of noticing and saying yes to all the invitations of the Holy Spirit and His redemptive and creative intent for our lives in the present moment. So, perhaps the most radical demand of the Christian life is daily sensing God’s Spirit and bravely entering into an ever-unfolding adventure that becomes more defined with each step of surrender.

It is this ongoing, daily rhythm of God’s initiative and our response that seems to be the constant movement of the spiritual life.

What that means is every day we have an opportunity to live as fully devoted followers. This gives us something to rest in. There is certainly more work to be done in our hearts, but we can put our heads on our pillow at night knowing that, for today, we were as fully surrendered as we knew to be. We can give up the weight of not being good enough. It happens daily as we pay attention to what God is saying and doing and respond by offering our lives back to him.

Author Eugene Peterson notes, “But it is essentially a living act, an invitation to a certain kind of life, a living that centers responsively on Jesus Christ.” (As Kingfishers Catch Fire, 191.)

Reflection Questions:

How did, or do, you define being a fully devoted follower of Jesus?

In what ways have you found yourself striving, and falling short, in your spiritual journey?

What can you do today to be “fully devoted?”

  1. I feel rest in peace in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Depending on Him is the only way to succeed. We are going to grow when we realize we have Him cheering us on, so close, so near. Thanks to Jesus for sending Him to us to make it to the end.


    1. Yes, He IS close! And always dynamically, creatively, and personally at work at all times…inviting us into a life with Him where He transforms us!


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