Acts 4:13 (NIV 1984) "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."
I want to be like her. . . She radiates Christ. Her relationship is personal. Her passion is unwavering. Her love for Jesus is evident. . . I want to be like her.
Several years ago a woman led a Bible study I was in. She shared from God's Word with real depth and knowledge. Her insight to Truth inspired me. As I grew in my faith, I learned there was no way to reproduce or fabricate what was in her life, into my life, without time and my own personal investment. May sound too simplistic but it's true. She shared from the abundance of what was within her. Her life overflowed from what filled her up. This was a result of her putting in the time with her Lord.
Our culture thrives on speed and efficiency. Businesses pride themselves in saving us time. Is it any wonder we get frustrated when we have to wait. The Boy Scout driver in front of us, the mother with forty-five coupons at grocery check-out and the slow toddler irritates us. We are on-the-go people. Drive-thru car-wash, drive-thru pharmacy, drive-thru banking, drive-thru dry cleaners, drive-thru dinner etc.
Improved efficiency is not a bad thing. In fact, much good stems from the increase of technology. However, if this way of life creeps into our spiritual lives we negate the growth necessary to our walk (not sprint) with Christ. God's Word is our daily bread, but do we consume it like fast-food?
Do our morning devotions look more like we're skimming through our favorite magazine? Do our prayers sound like a grocery list? Please hear my heart: We all have to start somewhere. Spiritual growth is a continual process. Just as moms wish for the day their toddlers are potty-trained, God desires for us to grow beyond infancy too.
In Acts 4, Peter shares his defense of healing a crippled man before the Sanhedrin. Peter and John's response to intimidating circumstances and the courage with which they addressed the crowd astonished the Pharisees. They recognized that unlearned men had been with Christ. It was obvious to them that these men had spent time with the Messiah. Chapter 4:13 says the Pharisees took note of this.
Like the Pharisees, we should want others to notice we spend time with Christ. Not the, "Look at me" kind of notice. But rather, the "Look at Him"; the obvious reflection, kind of notice. The fruit of our lives will either draw others to Him or push them away from Him. When our hearts are engaged in this love relationship we carry away reshaped thinking, transformed living, courageous callings and deepened maturity. Time with the Savior changes us.
When we neglect to nurture our relationship with God, growth becomes stagnant. Slowly, a shallow, hollow feeling fills us and we wonder where we went wrong. We long for depth, we desire boldness, we want a fresh perspective, renewed focus and empowered living, but the distractions in life distance us from Him.
Sometimes we may look at others and long for what they have, like I did. No amount of wishing will deliver to us what we esteem in others. We need to make it personal. We are each responsible for our walk with Christ and it's time for us to take ownership.
Here is our reality friends: We cannot microwave spiritual growth! We cannot press a button and "presto" we're a mature Christian. Growth in Christ takes time as our journey takes us many places. But, how closely we walk with Christ will determine how personal our relationship is.
If I told my husband, "Well, we spent quality time together Sunday morning for two hours and Wednesday morning for an hour? What else do you want?" I don't think he would be too satisfied with my level of commitment nor my expression of love. Because of my devotion, I am compelled to nurture and maintain a godly and loving marriage. Time and investment are essential on my part.
Unlike the disciples, we often don't invest ourselves personally. It's easy to let stuff crowd out our relationship with God. We must purposefully set aside time and refuse to let the wiles of the world and our list keep us from Him. If time with Christ takes precedence then our calendar will reflect it.
For years I lived with a microwave mentality. Through time, God radically changed my view of my relationship with Him. I knew what I wanted and what He desired, but first, I had to break free from the microwave intellect.
God continues to challenge and graciously stretch me as we venture together. He teaches me that the more I get into His Word, the more His Word gets into me. The more time I spend with Him, the more time I want with Him. The more I pray, the more prayer becomes a part of me. The more I desire Him, the deeper I walk with Him.
When we throw out our microwave mind and put in the time spiritually with the Lord, our relationship will begin to thrive. Our love for God will increase, His Word will become more of a priority and sustaining our relationship with Him will come from a heart of passionate yearning.
I want to be like Him. . .
On a scratch piece of paper write down what you think are your priorities in order from one to five.
Each day this next week chart how you spend your time. At the end of the week, compare what you thought were your priorities and how you actually spent your time. Do they match? What needs to change?
It is important to scrutinize how we spend our time each day. It is often squandered because we have not made Him #1. Creating more white space requires us to let go of things, even good things in order to put in the time with our most important priority.
Memorizing three to four verses, reading 10-15 minutes of the Word each day, and participating in a Bible study are all great places to start. Which one will you commit to this week?
How would you describe your relationship with God? To what extent do you desire deeper intimacy with Christ?
How do you view time with the Lord and His Word? How can you change your mental check-list and microwave mentality?
Heart Changing Word:
Psalm 37:7a "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly - mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly."
Hebrews 13:7 "Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."
1 Peter 2:2 "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."
Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.