The man who is devoted to fishing knows that if he wants the delights of catching fish he must accept the demands of getting up before dawn, braving the elements, and spending long hours catching nothing. But the devoted fisherman regards it all as worthwhile.
There are untold delights in being devoted to Christ. Those who “believe in him” can anticipate God keeping them “happy and full of peace” and can “overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (15:13). But devotion to Christ has its own demands.
Christ was so devoted to the Father’s will that he “didn’t please himself” (15:3). The Father’s will was intensely challenging at times—the Garden of Gethsemane comes immediately to mind. There Jesus shrank from the horror of his assignment, but he devoted himself to the Father and did his will nevertheless.
Jesus also devoted himself to the needs of those around him. Even the outcasts of society found in him a friend and support. His arms were open wide to those who responded to his invitation, and he turned no truly repentant person away (Matt. 11:28 30). So Paul could say, “Christ has accepted you” (Rom. 15:7), and he stressed that the Lord Jesus “came as a servant” (15:8).
Devotion to the Lord requires that the devotee have “the attitude of Christ Jesus” (15:5). We demonstrate this attitude most clearly when we are devoted to the well-being of others—even those with whom we disagree! We should reach out to those who don’t know Christ so that they “might also give glory to God for his mercies to them” (15:9).
If the believer becomes nervous about the demands of devotion, he should remember that among the delights of devotion is the experience of being kept happy and full of peace! Serving others, reaching out, accepting people, and not pleasing yourself certainly does not sound like a recipe for happiness to secular man. But for the one who has studied the life of Christ and has devoted himself to his cause, there is assurance enough that this is the way to fullness of life.
The devoted fisherman who reels in his fish counts the demands of fishing as nothing. The believer who finds his happiness in bringing glory to God and blessings to mankind regards the demands of devotion to Christ a delight.
For Further Study: Romans 15:1-13