Withdraw to Spend Time With God

Luke 5:15-16 “But now even more the report about him (Jesus) went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”

Luke 6:12 “In these days he (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.”

John 17:4 “I (Jesus) glorified you (God the Father) on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

Praying hands on an open bibleIn one word what is life for a lot of us? … BUSY!

As we read through the Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark,Luke and John), we observe the many ministries of Jesus in how He continuously served others and pointed them to God through His teaching, relationships, miracles and how He lived. Today I was pondering on what Jesus held close to his heart most. What was most important to Him amidst His busy life?

It was to spend time with His Father and to glorify Him. Jesus whole life was about sacrifice for the glory of His Father in heaven and our salvation! What a calling!! You would think with such a task He would be relentlessly interacting with as many people as possible, trying to help them know God through His life. Even though Jesus clearly did much of that, He made a point of prioritizing His time to first commune with God the Father. He did this not to draw attention to himself, as He often drew away to places of solitude so that He could give God all His attention. Jesus did this to draw strength from the most important relationship in His life.

There is no better example of this then in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark14:32-42).  Jesus knew He was about to be taken off by the Roman soldiers to endure the most horrific death imaginable, and so pours out His heart to His Father. Despite the immense struggles He had endured and was about to endure, He still chose to submit to His Father’s will!!! What a clear example to all of us that obedience to God is infinitely more important, and more glorifying to Him, then simply responding according to what we may ‘feel’ like doing!

I am never short of being blown away by the sacrificial love shown by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus. His love for us is only surpassed by His love for His Father. Note Jesus’ words that He would glorify His Father on Earth if He accomplished or finished the work God gave Him to do. He did that first by prioritizing time in the day to be with God, listening to Him, praying to Him, obeying Him. He knew that to glorify His Father in heaven, He would have to spend time with Him first, even if it meant sacrificing some much well deserved sleep. Although He served others more then anyone else in all history, He didn’t sacrifice His quiet time in communion with God with His service to others. His work, service and life flowed out from His relationship with His Father.

So often I forget this. So often I forget that what is more important then anything in my life is my relationship with God. He must come first in all aspects. In how we spend our time, in how we make decisions, in how we treat others, in how we use our resources, in how we use our gifts and talents, in how we live our lives. God has sacrificed so much for us in sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins so that we can, through faith in Jesus alone, have an eternal, secure relationship with God. No matter what sinful atrocity we have committed in our lives, Jesus’ sacrifice for us is infinitely sufficient to bring us into an eternal relationship with our holy and awesome God. All we have to do is come before God with a repentent heart and trust in the work that Jesus has done for us. What a mind blowing truth!!!

Let’s not let anything get in the way of that, even the very work He sent us to do! There is nothing more important then spending time in communion with God through prayer and studying/reflecting on His Word, the Bible. There is nothing more important then knowing the God we worship, the God who has saved us, the God who has bought us at a huge price. May all of us who call on Jesus as our Saviour and Lord never forget that as we go about our daily lives. May our lives reflect the work He has done in us more and more… for His glory!

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One response to “Withdraw to Spend Time With God

  1. Stuart, we all live such fast-paced lives. Slowing down to spend more time with God runs against our culture. Here are three steps that may assist busy people to achieve this.

    1. Realize that rest requires faith, because it seems non-productive from the world’s point of view. Since you cannot measure the “product” of time spent in developing your relationships with God and people, it takes a risk to invest a significant amount of time in these ways.

    2. Budget time in advance for the important things that could get swept away in the daily grind. If you do not learn to make the urgent things flow around the important, the important will be overwhelmed by the urgent.

    3. Try to live from moment to moment and hold a looser grip on your long-term plans. “Our great business in life is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand” (Thomas Carlyle).

    Be aware of the human tendency to avoid an honest examination of ourselves in the presence of God. Many people seek diversions, distractions, and busyness to elude this encounter.

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