Sunday February 4, 2007 | Greg Boyd
When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ. At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
As Christians we can sometimes lose sight of our true identity in Christ and become distracted by our lives, our interests, and our worries. We can begin to feel that God is a convenient “genie” who can fix what goes wrong in our lives or to bless our plans and ambitions. However, the truth of living in the Kingdom of God is that only when we give up our agendas and our ambitions can we actually begin to understand how we fit into what God is already doing. God does not fit into our plans; instead we are invited into His.
As Christians we can sometimes lose sight of our true identity in Christ. We become distracted by our lives, our interests, and our worries. We can begin to feel that God is a convenient “genie” who can fix what goes wrong in our lives or to bless our plans and ambitions. However, this self-focused view of Jesus and the Godhead is not a biblical understanding of faith or the Christian walk. (See Matt. 8:18-22) The truth of living in the Kingdom of God is that only when we give up our agendas and our ambitions can we actually begin to understand how we fit into what God is already doing. God does not fit into our plans; instead we are invited into His.
Jesus did not come to earth to give us a better portfolio or to bless our political group. He came to proclaim freedom for the captives and good news to the poor and the exciting news is you are invited to be a part of that! Jesus died for you to give you new life, a life centered on Jesus and HIS agenda.
In order for our lives to be centered on Jesus instead of ourselves we must spend daily quality time alone in communion with Him. This is vital to the health and condition of our relationship with God. Without this time our faith can begin to seem empty and hollow, a shadow of our former faith. It is essential to decide how we will cultivate a deeper relationship with God for us to grow.
Here are three ways to have a living, daily relationship with Jesus:
First of all, start the morning communing with Jesus. Throughout scripture there is reference to spending time with God in the morning. (See Psalms 5:3, 59:16, 88:13) Begin the first part of your day by committing to follow Jesus. Ask him to lead and guide you and to provide opportunities to bless people that you encounter in the day. For example, you may pray the prayer that Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-13.
Second, make it a habit to continually commune with Jesus throughout the day. As with any habit, this takes intentionality, practice and accountability. 2 Timothy 2:4 encourages us to “stay awake.” Make it a habit to pray throughout the day and ask God to help you to remain aware of His presence. Practice the presence of God; a great book to read about how to do this is “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. Use post-it notes to help remind you. Also, invite others into your life to be accountable in helping and encouraging you to remember God’s presence, and staying away from self-centeredness.
Third, spend time communing with God in the evening. The evening is typically a time to unwind and to collect one’s thoughts from the day. Use this time as a time of reflection, taking an inventory of what took place and how your involvement in the kingdom went. Some people find it useful to journal their thoughts. However you may do this, the important thing is to take some time to reflect and seek God.