Tuesday, December 2, 2014

5 Truths About "Alone Time" With God

"But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." (Luke 5:16)

Jesus' ministry was powerful. Multitudes were being healed. Crowds were gathering to hear Him speak. News about Him was spreading rapidly. Things were going well for Jesus. With all this going on, Jesus would slip away often to the wilderness and pray. Jesus wanted "alone time" with His Father and made it the priority. These "alone times" in the presence of God are what fueled the ministry of Jesus. There is no better example for you and me than Jesus Himself.

I see 5 powerful truths in this little verse that will revolutionize your "alone time" with Jesus, and thus your walk with Him.

#1.)  We must meet "often" with God. Jesus met "often" with God. Spending time with Him should be the highest priority for the follower of Christ. The fruit of priority is Consistency. If meeting with God is a priority, then one will meet with God on a consistent basis or "often". Consistency is not necessarily repetition. Repetition puts the emphasis on frequency. Consistency is the result of Jesus being the emphasis. I will say that we need time alone with Him daily. As God's mercies are new each day, taking the time to acknowledge such can be quite encouraging.

Remember, if you struggle with consistency in your quiet time, perhaps you need to move the principle of "alone time" with God to the highest priority. Consistency will be born out of priority. It was obvious Jesus held "alone time" with the Father the highest priority. This resulted in Him often slipping away to pray. Often is very good!

#2.) We must be "alone" with God. Jesus had to be "alone" with His Father. The word wilderness in the above Scripture is also translated as "a lonely place". This means Jesus would seek out a place where no one else would be, except His Father. Since God's Spirit is everywhere all Jesus needed was a place in which no other human being was. With literally thousands following Him this was a challenge. But He did it. By Jesus' example, it is very crucial that we be "alone" in our quiet times. It's impossible to have a completely effective alone time in God's presence among the clattering distractions of other people. Since it was a priority for Jesus, it must be for you and me. Quite often Jesus got alone with God. There were even times when He sent His disciples away, along with the crowds, so He could be alone with God. (See Matthew 14: 22-23)

#3.)  There are times in which we must "slip away" just to be with Him. Jesus often had to "slip away" in order to be alone with God. At times Jesus had to sneak away to find a lonely place to pray. The same must be such a priority for you and me. Not everyone will understand, but they will all know it is a priority for you. In our day and in our culture life is extremely cluttered. Our schedules are over-crowded. There are times when we must quietly slip away from the hustle and bustle of life, totally unnoticed by others, including our family. For me, my time is very early in the morning. The house is quiet, no one else is stirring. Not even a mouse! I have paid the price over the years as I have lost quite a bit of sleep, but it has been worth it.

In Mark 14 Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The first thing He did was to invite Peter, James, and John away from the group. But then He separated Himself from those three to be be alone with God and pray. Verse 35, " And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray..." Even the night He was betrayed and arrested He first sought to be alone with His Father.

#4.) Alone time must produce "communion" with God. Jesus communed with the Father during His time with Him. It wasn't just some time set aside. Luke 5:16 says He prayed. Jesus communed with His Father during His alone times. As He poured out His heart, God filled it. As He worshiped the Father, the Holy Spirit comforted, encouraged, and strengthened Him. What an example for you and me. We need the fresh life-giving power of God to live this life following after Jesus. This only happens as we have communion with Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit. As we pull ourselves away from the daily drudge and meet with Him we are filled with His life.

#5.)  We will find the victory "alone" in His presence. Jesus won the victory while alone with God. I'm taking nothing away from His physical crucifixion, and the cross itself. But we must realize Jesus won the victory in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night he was arrested. Luke tells us He was alone with God and an angel came from heaven and strengthened Him. He needed it. The spiritual warfare was so intense that His sweat became drops of blood. The blood He shed for you and me started flowing right then and there, during alone time with God.

We cannot begin to understand the spiritual and physical pressure Jesus experienced that night. But we can celebrate the fact that during time alone with God that night, He won victory for you and me. What an example! What a demonstration of the significance of having time alone with our Father through Him.

God is good. To move toward God is good. To drift away from God is not good. You're either doing one or the other. The goal of having time with God is to meet with Him, and interact with Him. Since He is so good, meeting with Him is life-changing. You will not remain the same by being in His presence, especially on a consistent basis. This is God's goal for every genuine believer.

"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works." (Psalm 73:28)

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