For this blog post I am going to divide it into two sections. The first part will be a devotional and the second part will be a prayer in response to the devotional portion. I pray it provokes you to refocus, re-prioritize, burn for intimacy with the Lord and grow in the knowledge of God.
In the midst of the busyness of life, it can be easy to lose sight of our primary purpose. It is ever so easy to become caught up in our jobs, relationships, family, ministry, school, etc. to the point that we constantly focus on what has to get done and we lose sight of what is most important: growing in knowing the Lord through dedicated devotion and alone time with Him.
I am reminded of the story of Martha and Mary from Luke 10:38-42.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42 NIV
Martha became so distracted by all that had to be accomplished that she neglected hearing the words of eternal life that were being spoken. Mary on the other hand understood the importance of sitting “at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.” She must have understood already what Jesus declares in John 17:3.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3 NKJV
Mary must have understood that eternity is knowing the Father through knowing Jesus and she didn’t want to miss a single phrase uttered from the mouth of Jesus. He wants to meet with us and speak to us daily in the same way that He met with Mary and Martha in that passage of scripture. This communion does not start after we leave this earth to live with Him eternally. Eternity starts now when we choose to live a life in pursuit of knowing Jesus more everyday and hear what He has to say.
Eternity starts now when we choose to live a life in pursuit of knowing Jesus more everyday and hear what He has to say.
Notice Jesus does not reprimand Martha for doing what needs to be done. He was not telling her to neglect her responsibilities. Jesus was correcting Martha’s prioritization of her responsibilities. She had become so focused on tasks that she no longer prioritized growing in knowing Jesus as the most important thing her life. It is so tempting at times to become like Martha. Especially in the moments when the mounds of homework builds up, your job is demanding overtime hours just to accomplish everything that needs to be done, or there is quite a bit going on in your family.
“Notice Jesus does not reprimand Martha for doing what needs to be done. He was not telling her to neglect her responsibilities. Jesus was correcting Martha’s prioritization of her responsibilities.”
It is vital that we do not become overly concerned about the tasks that we need to accomplish on any given day and neglect the Lord’s desire to visit with us daily.
I personally have been going through a time of refocusing, restructuring, and re-prioritizing in such a way that my time with the Lord becomes the most important meeting of my day, everyday for the rest of my life. Every once in a while we become like Martha and have to stop once again to shift our sites from what needs to be done to Him that wants to be known. This is how we make sure that when the Son of man returns we are found faithful (Luke 18:8) and keep the fire on the altar of our heart burning.
From a practical standpoint this looks like not over-scheduling yourself to the point that you use the excuse that you don’t have time for the Lord. Secondly, posture in your heart the night before what time you are going to meet with the Lord and tell Him what time you are setting aside tomorrow to meet with Him. Without a concrete, scheduled meeting time, your time with the Lord easily gets replaced by sleep or other responsibilities. I have found first thing in the morning works best for most people. This is because it is easy to let the day get away from you if you do not start off the day meeting with Jesus. Obviously this is not the same for everyone. The most realistic time for a stay at home mom could be in stark contrast to the individual working nine to five everyday.
“Without a concrete, scheduled meeting time your time with Lord easily gets replaced by sleep or other responsibilities.”
Finally, I will leave you with something Paul wrote in Philippians 3. To preface this passage keep in mind that Paul’s very first encounter with Jesus was Jesus literally showing up visibly. I do not know many people who can say their first encounter with Jesus was one like that or for that matter have ever had an encounter where Jesus visibly showed up in front of them. Yet Paul writes the following about Himself:
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ… 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Even Paul acknowledges that 1) there is nothing greater than knowing Jesus and 2) He has to grow even more in intimacy with the Lord and lay hold of more of Jesus through scheduling daily devotion with the Lord.
Paul recognized that while Jesus Christ had definitely laid hold of him there was so much more of Christ to lay hold of. Paul realized that there is no such thing as a ceiling when it comes to the knowledge of Christ. There is always more room to grow in intimacy with Jesus, there is more revelation to be had of the nature, character, and love of God, and there is always a need to pursue God through daily devotion to become more like Him.
“Father this is my prayer for this year and the rest of my life. As a ___________(insert your titles/responsibilities, example: husband, student, employee, and young minister of the gospel).
I ask for strength that I would not forsake growing in the knowledge of You through daily devotion.
In the midst of all that is going on in every area of life: family, work, school, and ministry it is so easy to get caught up in everything but getting to know You.
I recognize the danger of giving into the pressure of prioritizing things like (insert what you experience pressure of prioritizing over devotion) above knowing You intimately. I will not give into the lie that these things should be my top priority.
This year I say that I choose to be like Mary of Bethany found sitting at your feet for that is “the good part”. I am not saying I am forsaking responsibility, but rather refocusing where I fix my eyes and shifting my priorities.
You said that eternal life is knowing You. I refuse to wait until I have crossed over into eternity to start growing in knowing You or rather only give time to it when I have a spare moment. No, I say that my greatest pursuit is growing in knowing You this year and the rest of my days.”
I hope if you are reading this that you would join me in this pursuit of not forsaking responsibility, but prioritizing growing in the knowledge of God over every other pursuit, responsibility and ambition. I am convinced that all of our other ambitions, responsibilities, and pursuits will only be greater successes and God stories once our hearts and minds have refocused.
In the valley and on the mountain top let our heart’s cry be that of the psalmist, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord. All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to Inquire in His temple” and our petition be like Moses’s “show me your glory” so that the fire on the altar of our hearts would never burn out.