“Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you” (Is 49:14-15).
Isaiah’s prophetic message that God is eternally devoted to us is needed now more than ever. In his time, mothers who lost their sense of devotion would sometimes abandon their children. Isaiah reminds us that we are never out of God’s sight. Equally important, it reminds us that without God-like devotion, life can become cruel.
The concept of devotion is connected to the word “vow,” meaning a total commitment without reservations. Christ teaches us the meaning of devotion when he says we cannot serve both God and mammon; devotion is a one-way street with no side streets. It also must be heartfelt.
Devotion spawns unity, goodness, beauty and love: the very nature of life at its best. A marriage will succeed or fail depending on its level of devotion. Armies win or lose, contingent upon their level of commitment. Successful projects, more often than not, are tied to the selfless dedication of those accomplishing them.
Like anything precious, devotion doesn’t come easy. Coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” The practice of devotion can be trying and wearing. All it takes is a cross word to agitate it. And living together on a daily basis can be very challenging; familiarity does breed contempt!
Surrounded by an environment of corruption, blatant selfishness and false values — the direct antithesis of devotion — can easily lead to disillusionment and wondering, “Where is true devotion these days?”
A lack of good example is devotion’s worst enemy. Dishonesty, duplicity, narcissism and arrogant self-centeredness are forever corroding devotion. To counter bad examples, good examples of people sacrificing themselves to better life must be sought repeatedly.
In addition to finding good examples of devotion, how might we nourish it personally? It is by following the spiritual maxim: “Every day requires a new conversion.” Conversion is about keeping our heart in the right place. This requires we pray each morning for strength to mirror God’s devotion to us — that we possess the stamina needed to avoid abandoning it.
Devotion can never be taken for granted because of pollutants corroding it. Like shiny brass, it needs to be polished daily; we need to continuously adjust our heart for achieving the maximum beauty of commitment.