The Lord Jesus is a gentleman. He asks. He waits. For me. And, oh how I make Him wait too long and too often. I have been more and more convicted about my lack of time with Him. I often go through my day meditating on Scriptures I know by heart, praying periodically as things come up, but it often feels stale and repetitive, academic. Or, I look over some verses while drying my hair and pray between hair gel and hairspray. But, HE is not my only focus. He doesn’t get all of my attention. He is just added in to what I am already doing. He is not getting my best. He is not getting all of me…because I am only offering Him what is left over. It is as if I am driving and texting Him on the side. I multitask through my quiet time, which is not very quiet anymore…
I met a vivacious red head with a pink smile at church today. After spilling half and half all over her purse, I invited her to sit with me in the service. We stood side by side, eyes closed, in worship. As I was singing, I felt prompted to ask my new friend a question. Why had she come to church? Strange question. I know. But, that is how the Lord sometimes directs me- right to the heart of the matter.
When the service ended, I asked her. Initially, she kind of shook her head and answered something about wanting to. Then, before I knew it, she was in tears as she shared how she is really struggling, hurting on the inside. Yet, on the outside, her friends think she has it all together. She shared how she is always the life of the party, meeting others expectations and checking all social boxes. I felt like I was looking into a mirror of sorts. I was greatly aware of my own need for focused time with Jesus, so I asked her the question repeated in my heart….”How much time are you spending with Jesus each week?” She told me she spends about an hour each week in prayer and reading her Bible. She shared how she feels like she is working in a very dark career and was in a state of mental racing and confusion, working long, irregular hours. I recognized the same feelings myself and have noticed the farther I get from a fresh in-flowing of the Word of God, the more I feel confused, the more my speech becomes course and careless, the more my mind focuses on fleshly, sinful things, the more I compromise. We prayed together and as I prayed, the Lord gave me Ephesians 3:18. I prayed it over her, but at the same time I was reminded it was my salvation prayer. I prayed it out loud the day I met Jesus and He changed my life forever. It was my desire, then, to know Him to the very core- that I may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love.
This past week I have been reading parts of Romans chapter 12. I went there on purpose as I was dealing with a stressful relationship and needed to focus my heart on loving the other person. I read verse one and remained on verse 2…Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. I know the healing the Lord has performed in my life is directly related to His Word being written on my heart and mind. He has used His Word to direct my steps, transform my innermost being and make my crooked thoughts straight. Yet, as I have moved on in my relationship with Jesus, I find myself spending less and less time with Him and more and more time relying on what I learned years ago, playing back the same verses and reading the same passages. There is nothing wrong with this necessarily as some will say I am still in the Word. Yes. And, no.
I think I am missing out. I am missing the other side of this love relationship. Jesus doesn’t want me to know about Him as much as He wants me to know Him and be with Him. My new friend and I continued sharing and I told her I often think about the verses in Revelation where John admonished the church to not forget their first love. I told her I remember the mornings after I first met Jesus. It was like a honeymoon period, waking each morning with His name as the first word on my lips, “Jesus”. I remember the excitement and anticipation of what He would do, what He would teach me, where He would ask me to obey Him. I was in love…with Jesus. I gave Him my attention willingly. I had no TV then and spent much of my alone time reading my Bible and praying or taking long walks. It was a time of refreshing.
But, now? Now, I wake and forget to even acknowledge Him. I forget to thank Him for the day. I think of how I should read my Bible or spend time in prayer because it is the right thing to do. Having begun in the Spirit, I try to move forward in my flesh, checking boxes and meeting my perceived spiritual obligations. I remember the “good times” I had with Jesus when I would journal about the areas where He was growing me. I would give Him praise for the growth. My love relationship has turned sour as I have made it a have to instead of a want to. It shouldn’t be this way. He only asks for my attention. Can I not give Him this small thing with all He has done for me? I can, but I don’t.
Today, my dear Pastor taught us from Revelation chapter 2. John called the church of Sardis to “wake up”. Jesus also called us to “watch and pray”. Ephesians calls us to “awake sleeper making the most of the time”. Oh, how we are all given 24 hours, yet waste much of it on things with no eternal value. I am missing the one thing. The most important thing. I am missing Jesus. And, I think,…He is missing me. It is time to wake up and give Him my attention. I will be setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier starting today. Will you join me?