Following Jesus’ Example of Prioritizing Time with God
Busy is a word we often use to describe our lives. We are busy with jobs, school, schedules, appointments …busy, busy, busy! Our full and busy lives can be beautiful expressions of the many blessings we have, but we sometimes use the word busy as an excuse to neglect or get out of other obligations. We may be doing lots of good and rewarding things but at the cost of our barren souls.
As Christians we know that spending time with God in prayer and Scripture reading is important, but is it essential to our lives? Absolutely! There are many spiritual reasons for this discipline in our lives, but one often overlooked reason we spend intentional time in God’s Word and in prayer, is because Jesus spent intentional time with His Father while He lived as a man among us. Not only did Jesus come to be the Savior of humanity and the Redeemer of His fallen creation, but He also provided an example of how His people should live. Jesus is the model of how we are to live a life that is pleasing to the Father. While we’re not yet sinless as Jesus was, we can (and must!) follow His example through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Though the world that Jesus lived in was very different than our world today, he too was a busy guy: traveling, teaching, healing, and preaching. He had late nights and early mornings; He experienced hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. Yet He would often take time alone to spend time with His Father. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”
He prioritized time with His Father. And even in times of deep grief and heartache, he was found with his Father. As he faced his imminent death, in the anxiety of the cross before him, he was found in his Father’s presence.
We see this practice begin to develop even in Jesus’ boyhood. After days of separation from his family, he tells his frantic, worried mother, “Did you not know I must be in my Father’s House?” (Luke 2:49). It seems that this God-boy was so consumed with the happenings at the temple, he was unphased that his parents had inadvertently left him behind. His heart, soul, and mind were consumed with being near His Father.
Jesus is God, so why did He need so much time with the Father? Could it be that he was showing His followers the dependence we ourselves should have on God? If even God’s Son needed daily and lengthy connections with his Father, how much more do we need the same? To be in the presence of God was our Savior’s source of strength. We as believers and followers of Christ also need this connection with God. Jesus, Himself, encouraged his followers to imitate His practice! In Mark 6 after the disciples have returned from being sent out, Jesus tells them to retreat from the busy crowds and rest, renew their souls after their days of ministry. He encourages his followers to follow his example and prioritize time with God.
When we find ourselves using the word “busy” as an excuse put off time with God, this is probably a good indication that we need to stop and evaluate our priorities. We can look to Christ, the author, and perfector of our faith, who made it a habit and continual practice to meet with His Father. We are commanded and shown by example the importance of spending time with God, in His Word, through prayer, and in worshiping Him. Following Jesus’ example and being obedient to God is enriching not only our lives but our souls as well, as time in God’s presence nourishes and cultivates our whole being.
|Erica Hunt lives with her husband, Justin, in South Dakota. She teaches middle school and loves traveling, collecting quotes, learning fun facts and historical information, drinking coffee, eating ice cream, and enjoying good conversations with friends.|
So true! More time with God is our greatest need.