Where do we find that intimacy with Jesus?
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will."
For the past few weeks, I've ready Andy Stanley's Louder Than Words, a book on building character by looking to Jesus as the measuring stick; a measuring stick that we cannot achieve without submission to the Holy Spirit's working in our life.
One of my biggest takeaways from the book is it is not just about the routine of devotions, watching sermons, attending small group, etc. that matters - it's the intimacy we build with Jesus through those things that matter.
Seems like a Catch 22, and in a way, it can be. It's easy to mix the means up with the end.
If we don't partake in disciplined devotional activities, we don't create space and time to commune with God.
If we do and make the practice the priority, it becomes an idol and we miss intimacy.
But if we can move into a routine for the goal of intimacy, then we hit the mark.
One thing I've found in my own walk with Jesus is that my routine changes. There are seasons where I read my Bible every morning, and seasons where I'm more focused on listening to sermons or worship music. Sometimes I give God 3 different scheduled times in my day that might be shorter, others it is 1 time each day, and that doesn't always mean longer.
What I've realized through this, though, is to listen to Him. Intimacy with God is about quality, not quantity, and I actually heard Him speak that to me this morning. I completed my own study time, recorded my notes, and wanted to keep reading. That seems noble, to keep reading, but it wasn't for me today.
I felt God say, "That's your manna for today. Don't push it into your own strength."
So I caught myself, closed my Bible, and began my day.
He isn't looking for us to be in our Word and prayer 24/7. Maybe He will ask you to at some point, but our relationship with Jesus is not defined by spending frivolous time parading before Him. It's build with intimacy with intentional time before Him; a heart truly broken and open before Him to do His good work in us.
Can I challenge you to think through how you're spending time with Jesus and ask Him if it's what He has for you? If we really believe in relationship over religion, wouldn't it be great to ask the other person in the relationship what He wants and obediently follow that?
I did recently, and my answer was for more time before Him and in an intentional manner. It may not last forever, but I can say that the time is building my relationship with Him, it's renewing my mind, and it's changing my heart.
I want that fruit more than guilt of not spending enough time or pride in spending more time than I had the day prior. How about you?