As we kicked off our new year, I mentioned that to be a church better equipped to reach and serve our own families, networks, and neighborhoods, we should ask ourselves these same three discipleship questions over and over:
- Are you spending time with Jesus?
- Are you connecting deeply with other Christians?
- Are you blessing your neighbors?
I’d like to reflect for a moment on question number one – Are you spending time with Jesus?
It’s easy to hear that question, and imagine it just means reading a devotional or a bit of Scripture, to get a thought or principal for the day, but that is not what I mean by that question.
Disciples, by definition, are people who spend time with Jesus. That was easy to see in the lives of the earliest disciples, because they followed Jesus from town to town, village to village, watching him, listening to him, and asking him their own questions. We can’t follow a visible Jesus, but we can join Jesus where we see him at work. We can make time to read the words that he spoke. We can pray that the Holy Spirit, Jesus in us, will speak wisdom and courage directly into our lives. The most challenging part is personal surrender. If we spend serious time with Jesus, it will mean that we need to change in some of the deepest places of our lives. That’s what Jesus does and he never forces those changes on us. Rather, he calls us again and again to personal surrender: to hold our hopes and desires loosely in our hands and offer them in worship to him.
It’s a living relationship of conscious dependence on God. It’s not that we think of God every waking moment, but we return to God again and again during those waking moments. It’s a matter of being familiar enough with the Bible that we can claim the promises that God has made. It means that we can imagine ourselves coming to God in desperation like the woman who needed healing, that we can see ourselves in the divided loyalties of the rich young ruler, that we are stirred by the faith of Peter and are warned by his lack of faith! It means filling our minds with God-given words from 2000 years ago so that we can experience a living relationship with God right now!
Are you spending time with Jesus? It is a question that is important for every growing Christian in every generation, and especially in our hyperactive world.
Get started now. Pay attention to the time you are spending with Jesus.