This has been one of those weeks in which the weather has been especially cold. The last few days, with the sleet and ice on the roads, the winter weather shut down much of our world in this area. It has been a week, however, in which hot soup seemed especially good and coffee and hot chocolate never tasted better.
Last night, I read a portion of an excerpt from A Serious Call To A Devout and Holy Life by William Law (1686-1761). Law was an Anglican priest who was especially concerned that we not separate our faith from our everyday life. Law writes regarding "devotion."
Devotion is neither private nor public prayer, though public and private prayers are a part of devotion. Devotion signifies a life given or devoted to God.
The devout, therefore, are people who do not live to their own will, or in the way and spirit of the world, but only to the will of God. Such people consider God in everything, serve God in everything, and make every aspect of their lives holy by doing everything in the name of God and in a way that conforms to God’s glory.
We readily acknowledge that God alone is to be the rule and measure of our prayers. In our prayers we are to look totally unto him and act totally for him, and we must pray in this manner and for such ends as are suitable to his glory.
Law goes on to speak of the importance of devotion to God as it relates to the way Christians live. He speaks of the confusion many have with Christians over their conduct:
This is the reason we see such ridicule in the lives of many people. Many people are strict when it comes to times and places of devotion, but when the service and the church is over, they live like those who seldom or never come there. In their way of life, their manner of spending their time and money, in their cares and fears, in their pleasures and indulgences, in their labors and diversions, they are like the rest of the world. This leads the world to make light of those who are devout because they see their devotion goes no further than their prayers. When their prayers are over, they stop living unto God until the next time they pray. In between they live with the same attitudes and desires as other people. This is the reason why they are scoffed at by worldly people, not because they are really devoted to God, but because they appear to have no other devotion than their occasional prayers.
(Cited in Richard Foster’s Devotional Classics, pp. 190-191.)