I’ve (Melissa) been spending time this month in the book of Luke. It’s a beautiful account of the life of Jesus and a great place to start if digging into the Bible if the whole thing seems a bit intimidating or if you are in a place where you just feel like you need to get reconnected with God’s Word.
As I made my way through the beginning chapters, it didn’t take long before a common theme jumped out for me – once, twice, three times and more.
Jesus intentionally sought out solitude.
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12
He made the conscious decision on repeated occasions
to be alone;
to be quiet;
In the midst of His crazy, busy, hectic days. Despite the number of people making demands for His time. Solitude remained a priority.
Wow! Realizing this piece of information is really making me reflect on how I am spending my time. Am I making enough time for solitude? Is intentional time alone to be quiet, to recharge and, most importantly, to pray a priority?
Sadly, if I am completely honest with myself (and with you!) and answered that question today, I would have to say “no.”
I don’t know about you, but I know that I can find a million reasons why solitude can’t be a priority for me right now.
Little people depend on me to feed, bathe and cloth them … every day.
Mountains of laundry pile up, dirty dishes multiply and dust bunnies are calling to be swept up … every day.
Volunteer commitments, work obligations, and don’t even get me started on the holidays approaching way too quickly!
But, as Jesus shows us, solitude is necessary. It’s necessary because it connects us closer to God. Jesus used his quiet time to grow in His relationship with God and, as a result of that time, He was more effective in His work here on earth. And intentional solitude can do the same for us. When we seek out solitude and quiet time with God, we become more effective in our day-to-day – wherever and whatever that involves.
And I want more of that.
This week, I’m inviting you to join me in intentionally seeking solitude. Whether it’s everyday or a few found moments throughout the week, the point is to get us in the habit of intentionally seeking out the time and making it a priority in our schedules. Yes, it may mean we have to “give up” something else. Yes, that may mean that something on a “to-do” list won’t get done. But the rewards – a closer relationship with God, an opportunity to recharge and be more effective in our day-to-day – are too many to count.
Will you join me? Let me know that you’re “in” by commenting below!
Heavenly Father, our hearts’ desire is to grow closer to You. This week, will You help us find ways to carve out even just a few minutes of solitude? We long to hear from You. Will you help us calm the chaos on the outside of our lives and even on the inside of ourselves so that we can hear Your voice more clearly? Will you help us use this time to not only deepen our relationship with You, but also become recharged so that we can more effectively do the work that You have laid out for us? We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Matthew 4:18-22 "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."
IMMEDIATELY. That word just hits me. When I first heard this passage, and I mean really took in the words, I couldn't fathom how they would just immediately leave their lives and embrace a new life as followers of Jesus. I was so overtaken by this concept, that I wanted to get other views of the same event.
I first visited Mark 1:18 and 20, and I saw the exact same thing:
"And IMMEDIATELY they left their nets and followed him...And immediately he called them and they LEFT their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him."
Fine, but maybe Luke had a different take: But get this!
Luke 5:11 "And when they had brought their boats to land, they LEFT EVERYTHING and followed him."
So now we add in the idea that not only did they IMMEDIATELY follow him, but now they left EVERYTHING.
My dear sisters in Christ, what happens if Christ calls you to do something for Him? How will you respond?
"Well, you see, God. Now is not such a good time. My life is crazy, and I just couldn't fathom doing that for you right now."
Sound like something you might say? I have been saying that lately to Him as He is calling me to more. I have every excuse in the book to throw at Him.
But I need to realize something - God equips those he calls. If He is calling me to do something, He will give me the energy, the people to help with my family, the resources needed, and everything else. All He needs me to do is to say, "OK, God. I give you my all. Let's do this!"
Last week, in my journal, I wrote this question, and I urge you to pray about your answer to this same question this week: "What if we told God we are all in and MEANT IT?"
In the comments below, I encourage you to answer these questions:
* Could you say yes immediately to what He has in store for you? If not, what is holding you back?
* Would you be willing to give up everything for Him? If not, what couldn't you fathom giving up?
I will be praying for all of you this week. When God puts things like this on my mind, I get goosebumps because I know there is someone reading who needs to hear this. Is it you?
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
I (Mia) am going to ask you to read that again….to read it out loud (literally)…heck, I’m gonna ask you to stop and take out your Bible, the kind with paper and I want you to mark it up. I want you to circle, underline and highlight the words that God shouts at you! Seriously...GO!
As I was preparing and reading through the text, I initially took it upon myself to CAPITALIZE certain words, do some of them in BOLD, I even italicized and underlined some of the text. Well, I just went back and re–did it and took it all off. You see, I highlighted the words that God pressed deeply into MY heart as I read it. And trust me, God had something to say to me. But then I thought "who am I that I am going to assume those are the words that He has for you?"
Now, what I am asking of you is to just sit with these words, take your time and let the Spirit of the Lord highlight, italicize, underline, CAPITALIZE and BOLDLY mark the words He needs YOU to hear.
Just sit with it. Sit with Him. You don’t have to share it, you don’t need to comment, you don’t have to even like this post. Just be still and may the Spirit of the Lord through the power of His word speak more to you than I ever will or ever could.
I'm going to sit with this all week as well and will see you back here on Friday for some sharing.
PRAYING: Father, I pray in the mighty name of Jesus that each person who reads Your Word would be transformed into the same image of your glory from one degree to another. May Your Word, that is active, alive and sharper than a double edged sword, do what it promises to do this day and not return void. Lord, may we reflect You. Lord, may we be changed today by the power of Your word. In the mighty, matchless name of your Son, Jesus! AMEN and Amen!!