Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jesus on the Habits of Heart

Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, the begged him not to leave them. But he replied, ‘I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.’ So he continued to travel around, preaching in synagogues throughout Judea.”
(Luke 4:42-44,

After Jesus deals with crowds of curious and needy people (Luke 4:40-41), he leaves Simon’s home (Luke 4:38-39) and went to a quiet place. Jesus finds “an isolated place.” This gives us a glimpse into the way Jesus lived intentionally. Mark 1:35 note that Jesus “rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Jesus didn’t seek solitude to be alone with himself; he found a quiet place to be alone with his Father. Time apart allows us to focus our prayer by minimizing distractions. It offers God time to speak to us. The impression we get from Jesus’ life is that these times away were essential to his spiritual well-being.

The parallel accounts in the different Gospels give a more complete picture of this event. Again, Mark tells us the disciples were the first to notice Jesus missing and searched for him. “When they found [Jesus], they said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ But Jesus replied, ‘We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came” (Mark 1:37-38). Above Scriptures provides the atmosphere of the moment, telling us that the people “begged him not to leave them.” Jesus informed those seeking him that his priority was delivering the “Good News of the Kingdom of God” as widely as possible. He refused to be distracted. The apparent urgency of people’s needs would not keep him from his primary task. Jesus, I adore you.

Think about this: Habits like prayer and carrying out God’s priorities in life will be limited if we consistently yield to distractions. Growing our relationship with God doesn’t happen by accident. We must imitate the intentional way Jesus carried out daily living. Most positive habits begin as deliberate actions. We don’t accidently fall into the habit of prayer and silent and solitude. We grow into those habits by repeated practice. Prayer, silent and solitude becomes habitual when we discover it is crucial to our spiritual health.

Ask yourself, what would improve the regularity and quality of your time alone with God?
What most distracts you from keeping your spiritual priorities?

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