The problem with using phrases like “wholly devoted" is that we immediately think about DOING. In relation to God, man thinks he must comply with or obey the regulations and requirements of a religious faith or system in order to prove his devotion, be it prayer, Bible reading, helping the poor, etc. "Wholly devoted" applies to any faith or belief system be it Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, even atheism. In the Old Testament, devoted meant obeying the Law of Moses and fulfilling all of its requirements.
When we believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we tend to transfer this same thought system and apply it to our walk with the Lord. We think that if we were really, truly devoted, then our lives would PROVE how devoted we are to God. But what happens when our lives aren’t holy enough, i.e. we don't have enough proof? What conclusions can we draw? The entire premise that works is how I prove my devotion is false.
If we have to prove our devotion to Him through our works and actions, it’s hopeless. Enough will never be enough and how do I even know how many good, seemingly "devoted" actions do I need to prove my devotion to Him? But worse, of supreme loss, is that we miss the point of KNOWING HIM. Our desire to prove we love Him overrides being able to simply know Him. We get so caught up in performing and proving to Him we love Him that we completely miss Him--simply--Him.
Jesus isn’t looking for Christians with perfect, holy, ordered little lives, proving their devotion to Him by their works. We use clichés like “sold out for Jesus” or “give Jesus your all”. Although well intentioned phrases, they have nothing of His heart behind them. He wants His children—YOU—to know and trust Him. He seeks those who are daring enough to trust He is Who He says He is; those who trust His character and His promises. He seeks those who trust Him with every hurt, every loss, every tear, every unknown; to come to know Him despite the pain, when nothing makes sense. He seeks those who will trust Him for their past (I am forgiven, saved, sanctified, justified and fully righteous through His finished work on the Cross), their present (I trust He will make a way through todays trials and unknowns even when I don’t see how and I can’t endure one more minute) and their future (I have no idea where this road leads, but I trust You). Knowing Him is devotion.
There are different kinds of suffering in this world. When someone has a physical illness, it is easy to see they are suffering because one easily sees the impact on their daily life; i.e. the proof. Those who suffer inwardly, through a broken relationship or past abuse, “appear” to be suffering less because it is harder to see the impact on their daily lives. The proof isn't as evident. Yet no one would dare to say one suffers more or less than the other.
It can be similarly true with how we view being “wholly devoted” to God. We focus on the outward. The person who leaves their homeland to be a missionary in another land “appears” more devoted than the person who remains at home. We think one who reads their Bible and prays more, is active in their church, has home groups....I could go on and on...is more devoted to God then someone else who does less.
This is nonsense. Being devoted to God has nothing to do with outward appearances or "provable" actions. It is a matter of our heart. Wholly devoted says,
"Do whatever is necessary in my life so I can know You.
"I belong to You."
"I trust You with all I am and have"
"Have Your way in my life at any cost."
He wants you to be devoted to Him by trusting and resting in Him and His work.
Bear in mind, you can’t make these decisions for Him without His help. I will never be holy enough to magically always want to surrender my right to myself. But when I choose to know Him, at any cost; when I want Him to have all liberties in my life; when I want Him to do wherever is necessary so that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection; that is devotion—and that comes only through the help of the Holy Spirit. Not from myself--not from a creed; but truly, only from Him.