I’ve heard it said before that Christians should not ask questions like, “How’s your relationship with Jesus going?”, as though it were something that has ups and downs; that our relationship with Jesus is fixed permanently – servant, child, friend – because of his finished work on the cross. We are saved, and we cannot be “unsaved”.
And I agree, to an extent.
It’s unhelpful to talk about our relationship to Jesus as though it’s somehow based on how “good” we’re being, or how regular our devotions are. Our relationship to Him is fixed in the sense that we have been forgiven for all sins – past, present and future – and our eternal dwelling place is secure.
But I think it is a relationship that we can either neglect or nurture, and our choice will have consequences in this life.
I want to actively nurture my relationship with Jesus every day, and I want that to be evident in every aspect of my life.
The first point in my Personal Mission Statement addresses this.
(And can we just pause to have a little giggle about the fact that Personal Mission Statement is abbreviated to “PMS” in the title 😉 )
To grow in knowledge and love of Jesus daily, so that every area of my life proclaims him as Saviour and every thought is filtered through a Jesus-shaped lens.
The way I see it, knowledge and love go hand in hand. The more I come to know about Jesus, the more I love him. And the more I love him, the more I want to know.
I can still remember my church doing a series on the gospel of Mark when I was a teenager, and that was the first time that I really “fell in love” with Jesus. (And I don’t mean that in the “Jesus is my boyfriend” sense of love, it was more like “what a cool guy!” and “this is someone I want to follow”). My eyes were opening to the truths about Jesus found in Scripture, and it was very exciting.
There are times like that in my life – where the relationship is propelled forward by the fires of passion and enthusiasm. And there are other times – where the relationship limps along on the crutches of discipline and habit.
It’s with this in mind that I started the discipline of getting up at 6am every day to spend time with the Lord. Like I mentioned in my last post, this went well for a while. And then, little by little, I started pressing the snooze button a few more times. Then it got to the point where I didn’t bother setting an alarm, and just got up for the day when my daughter did.
Earlier this year, I read Darlene Schacht’s “The Good Wife’s Guide”. (It took me a while to decide to read this book, because I couldn’t get into someone who thought returning to the 50’s was a good idea. But I’m glad I finally did read it, as the principles within are not so much from the 50’s, but from the Bible. I found her points to be like a series of swift kicks to the backside, which works well for me (metaphorically).)
Anyway, she has a very convicting section in there regarding waking up early, which I read right at peak “snooze button” time (trying to tell me something, Lord?):
Rest isn’t a problem in itself, but our misuse of it can
be. We all know how good it feels to pull the covers
over our head and press the snooze button a few
times, but I have to say that a productive day feels
Over sleeping is an indulgent activity that should be
reserved for special occasion like Saturday
mornings–not just because our parents taught us
that it was a good thing to do, but because our
mornings set the stage for each day. If we want to
live productive lives then it’s time to take the reins
and start leading the way.
Up until now, many of us may have allowed our
bodies to lead without question but if we want to be
a good wife who manages her house well, then we
must start by learning to manage ourselves.
Ouch! Anyone else’s backside get sore reading that?
As always, there are circumstances where this may not apply to certain people, but for me personally, in this stage of life – I need to stop being so lazy and keep my commitment to meet with the Lord each morning.
It’s amazing the difference I notice in my day when I start by spending time with Jesus, versus being forcefully removed from bed by a small child.
– I am more patient with the children.
– I am more engaged in what is happening each moment.
– I tend to be more productive.
– I am quicker to take things to the Lord in prayer during the day.
– I have motivation and excitement for the day (pleasing God).
For me, this time usually involves reading a passage of the Bible and then writing in my prayer journal. At the moment, I am using a guided Bible study book, so I am also writing down notes from that in my journal.
I tend to write my prayers to God in the way that I would speak it out loud. I just find the words flow more freely with a pen in my hand. And it’s also great to have a physical record of answered prayer.
When I spend time with Jesus – intentional, worshipful time – I can’t help but grow in my love for him. And His love and words change me.
If serving Him is my reason for living – the reason He is keeping my heart beating this very moment – then I want to make sure my eyes stay fixed on Him.