This is a page from my ‘A to Z of me’ journal where I’m using each letter of the alphabet to prompt me to think of a different aspect of my faith and life. It’s been some 6 years since I did the letter ‘C’ so perhaps this is a lifetime pursuit. There are links to the A, B and C pages, and the inspiration for this journal at the bottom of this post. If you appreciate beautiful art then please do go and look at Valerie Sjodin’s blog which is the inspiration for this journal.
It’s taken me some time to find the right word to represent my letter ‘D’, but finally I settled on ‘devoted’. Initially it seemed rather arrogant to claim this for myself, so let’s just say that it’s something I’m working towards!
But what am I devoted to? Well, there’s my family, and I’d like to think also my friends, and for me, I am also devoted to God.
Devotion perhaps suggests obsession, but I like to think it is more about what I recognise is most important in my life. But devotion is also an action, so it’s not just about what I think and feel, but also what I do.
I hope and I strive for devotion to God in my life. So what does that look like?
Well I think there are two verses which I find helpful here.
“if you love me you will keep my commandments”John 14:15
And what are those commandments? Well the other three gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke – all report a response from Jesus to the question ‘What is the most important commandment?’ The enquirer is referring to the ten commandments given by God to Moses and recorded in the Old Testament books of Exodus (chapter 20) and Deuteronomy (chapter 5). But Jesus doesn’t choose one of the ten commandments, instead he captures the spirit behind the commandments and summarises them into two, simple to remember, statements…
” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:30-31
These two commandments form the basis of my faith and life. This is what forms my devotion. Firstly that I should aim to love God with all my being, and secondly that the outworking of this love should be that I love others equally, with no prejudice and no injustice.
But that is an incredibly difficult task to do, and relying on my own strength I fall short frequently. But I don’t rely on myself. The Bible verse on my art journal page is the verse given to me when I was baptised as a believer back in 2001.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”Galations 2:20
It is Christ living in me and through me that enables me to both love God and love my neighbour.
I am reminded of Corrie Ten Boom, whose sister Betsie died in a Nazi concentration camp while she, herself, survived. After the war, Corrie travelled around testifying to how her faith in God had sustained her even amidst the darkness and evil abounding around her.
She recounts how on one occasion after preaching a sermon on God’s forgiveness, a man came up to her whom she vaguely recognised. He confessed that he had been a guard at the concentration camp where she and her sister was imprisoned. He had come to faith, and repented of all he had done, but he was seeking Corrie’s forgiveness.
Corrie looked at his hand and knew that she alone could not forgive him, so she reached out her own hand and asked Jesus to step in and make it happen. She was overwhelmed by the feeling of forgiveness that flowed through her so that she was able to take this man’s hand and genuinely forgive him.
THAT is Christ, living in Corrie Ten Boom.
I hope and pray that I never have to endure the suffering that Corrie did, but I am thankful that when Christ lives in me I can do things that otherwise would be impossible.
I say “I am devoted” as an aspirational statement, rather than an achievement. I pray that each day I may get better at being devoted; that I may grow in my love of God and my love of neighbour, and that in doing so, I make a positive contribution to the lives of others, and to the work of God in this world.
This journal is just a simple plain paper notebook. I used coloured pencils and a fineliner on this page. Sometimes I add felt pens for emphasis but I like the softer look of this page so I didn’t use them this time. The pages are quite thin and the fineliner tends to bleed through so when I’ve finished I stick the page to the next one with pva glue.
You can find my other pages here:
And for the inspiration for this journal, see Valerie Sjodin’s wonderful blog here