“But have you really allowed the Lord to just love you? To adore you?”
That question changed me. Somewhere along the way, I had missed something. My initial thought was, “Well yeah, of course…” But yet, I wasn’t able to respond. After examining the question in my head, I had to respond out of humility, “To be honest, I don’t think I even know how to do that.”
This conversation triggered a period of investigation for me. As I was sitting in prayer one day, I asked the Lord, “How do I let You love and adore me Lord?” The word “time” literally flashed before my closed eyes. Then the Holy Spirit began to speak to me.
In Luke 10, Martha is preparing a large meal while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His teaching. Martha becomes upset that Mary is not helping her prepare the feast. She begs the Lord to tell Mary to come and help her. Jesus responds this way, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
What was that one thing? That one thing was time spent in the Lord’s presence. Here’s the craziest thing about this story. By loving others through serving them with a meal, Martha was actually practicing what Jesus said was the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:35-40), but here’s the thing: Mary was practicing the greatest commandment of all, to “love the Lord God with all of your heart”.
David grasped this principle also. In Psalm 27:4, David writes, “The one thing I ask of the LORD — the thing I seek most — is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” What’s David saying? All he wants to do is spend time with the Lord!
And then Psalm 84:10 reads, “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.”
What are these passages relaying to us? One, I think they show us that spending time with the Lord is very important and necessary. But two, it’s quite easy to allow other things, even good things (the second greatest commandment given!), to become distractions, causing us to settle.
As I read these passages, I asked the Lord to show me what spending time with Him was supposed to look like. He highlighted five different aspects in my life. Five out of five of those things I was already doing. However, some of them I just wasn’t doing in the right way, and the others, I wasn’t doing with the right understanding, perspective, and intention.
We must spend time with the Lord in:
Jesus always got away to pray. He understood prayer and valued it intimately. It was a priority even to the Son of God (Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12).
What is prayer? Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Prayer isn’t just coming to the Lord when you need something or out of obligation because you know you’re supposed to be doing it. For me, the biggest change was in my intention. I now set aside time each day with the intention of not asking for anything, but just sitting in His presence. Somedays, that looks like going outside, leaning against a pine tree, and staring off into His beautiful creation. Other days, that consists of sitting in my antique rocking chair with a cup of coffee, meditating on His goodness. The point is this: be intentional and be sincere. Find time to spend in the Holy Spirit’s presence because it’s the most important thing you’ll do on any given day of your life.
Buy some worship music (If you don’t know who to listen to, I suggest Jesus Culture, Elevation Worship, Hillsong United, and Passion). Use Spotify. Listen to Christian radio. Worship was never meant to be just a Sunday morning thing. If you aren’t worshiping God throughout your week, you’re robbing yourself of moments in His glory. More importantly, He deserves your praise and adoration. When you worship the Lord, you magnify Him and all other weights melt right off of you.
Read the Bible. Yeah, I know right? But, what’s that look like for you? There’s multiple things I do to keep my devotional time full and fresh. I read Jesus Calling every morning. Then I log into YouVersion.com and read my Bible plans. What I like to do is have a long-term plan (study), a short devotional (verse memorization and deep thought/reflection), and a topic-based plan (varies in season). I also read a lot of books. I usually read one book to learn and grow and another book for leisure at the same time (usually a biography). Does your devotional time have to look like this? Absolutely not. Mine was developed over a long period of time, figuring out what worked best for me. Start with one plan on YouVersion if that’s what you want to do. But devotion is more than just reading a chapter a day. Where’s your heart? Like Jesus, our goal should be to grow in wisdom (Luke 2:52).
You need to get involved. Serve at your local church. Why should you serve? Because serving is glorifying God (Matthew 5:14-16). The greatest among us must be servants (Matthew 23:11). Serving is the will of God and and you’re serving the Lord, not people (Ephesians 6:5-7). It makes the Lord happy (Philippians 2:1-4). You’re more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). You’re called to love your neighbor (Galatians 5:13-14). Jesus came to serve and we reflect Him (Mark 10:44-45). When doing unto others, you’re really doing unto Him (Matthew 25:40). To be first, you must be last (Mark 9:35). You were blessed with your gifts and talents to serve others (1 Peter 4:10:11).
Serving does more for you than it does for those being served. It makes you more like Christ and changes your heart. And when you’re serving, you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re with the right people, and you’re at the right places.
If Jesus had 12 men around Him almost all of the time, how many of you think we may need a few people also? The Church was built on community (Acts 2:42-47). You need to live life with others. You need someone to help lead you. You need to be leading someone else. Get connected at your church. Get in a life group. Have lunch with friends instead of alone. Involve other people in your own personal interests and hobbies. When I got connected in my church’s college ministry, my life changed. That’s because iron sharpens iron and we were created for community. What are you waiting for?!
Take an inventory of your time. What are you doing with it? Where are you spending it? Who are you spending it with? Go deeper with the Lord through prayer, worship, and devotion. Commit to the Christian life via service and community. You never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of your obedience.