During His ministry here on earth, Jesus often sought out quiet places to pray. But why? It tells us in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” The answer to “why He did this” is in what happened the night before. The town of Capernaum had witnessed Jesus healing someone in the Synagogue…and so later that night the entire town converged at the house where Jesus was staying…bringing in tow every sick and demon-possessed person they could find. And it says Jesus healed them. When we give much, our emotional gas tanks gets low. And the only way to fill them is to find a place of quiet reflection so that God can renew us . Jesus was practicing the discipline of silence in order to replenish, restore, refresh, and revive His soul…and it’s something we could do well to imitate.
When Jesus came to earth He made the greatest sacrifice of self-abnegation and self-denial possible. He humbled Himself and renounced His Divinity. In other words, Jesus went out of Himself in order to enter into fellowship with us. So why are we so against doing the work to enter into relationship with Him? We’d like Jesus to just save, change, and sanctify us without lifting a finger in the process. Or we’d rather bargain with Him first – (“You do this for me first God, and maybe then I’ll start working on myself.”) The bottom line is that we also must go out of ourselves in order to enter into a right relationship with God…and waiting around until He does all the work in our lives (that we need to be doing) will never happen.
Maybe you’ve never heard the term – Shekinah Glory – but here in Hebrews it attempts to explain how Jesus was the perfect expression of the divine essence of His Father. God’s luminous presence was manifested in Jesus, and this splendor and light could not be dampened or hidden from sight…for God’s Shekinah Glory cannot be contained.
Everyday we should be celebrating the many blessings from God…for He does things far beyond the bounds of what we think, expect, or can even imagine. Genesis 18:14 goes further to ask, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” But I heard an interesting sermon the other day challenging the idea of just what a blessing was. Do we thank God only for the good things we have, and that happen to us. Or do we praise Him also for all the difficult, uncomfortable, and bad things that come into our lives? How do we know that something meant for bad can’t suddenly be turned around by God for good? For what we see as affliction, can become the way to deeper holiness and sanctification in our life…or what appears to be a difficult situation may turn out to be a godsend in the end. This gives new meaning then to the song “Count your many Blessings”…for we need to praise God for everything that comes into our lives…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
That life-changing encounter with Jesus was the start of your journey as a Believer. You marveled at the grace, mercy, and loving kindness that was extended to you… a sinner that only deserved death. You became a recipient of the greatest gift ever…the free gift of eternal life. But for many of us we stop there, never sharing this Good News with others. We instead hold tightly to this gift refusing to share…desiring to just keep it to ourselves. But Paul tells us in this verse that first we are a receiver, but then we become a messenger… an ambassador for Christ, telling others about Him. Paul goes on in I Corinthians 11:2, ” I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.” How can we keep such wonderful, life-changing news to ourselves? The Lord wants us to pass it on to others. So today, tell someone how Jesus is working in your life.
With over 30 years under my belt as a Christian…it’s only with sincere thankfulness and gratitude I can proclaim that it’s only by the grace of God I am what I am today. For it’s only by God’s unearned and unmerited favor that I have been changed…justified freely by His grace through the redemption that comes through Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24) And I strive daily to show Him that the grace He lavished on me was not futile or a waste of time…for this grace God showed me – I need to be passing on freely to others.
When the Holy Spirit is deeply embedded in you and what you do, the Lord takes great delight. But you also need to remember that it’s about the people you touch, not about the things you think you need to accomplish. Projects are wonderful…outreach into the community, volunteer work, leading Bible Studies, etc. But they only become notches in your gun if that’s the sole reason you’re doing them. Sorry to say, but touching others for Christ isn’t about you at all. It’s about demonstrating God’s love in tangible ways to others and pointing them towards Jesus.