CONSIDERING JESUS CHALLENGE
Day One: January 1, 2013, Tuesday
Verse to meditate on:
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10
This morning I bounded out of bed before six o’clock so I could jump into the first day of my “Considering Jesus Challenge.” (See yesterday’s blog entry titled, Ditching New Year’s Resolutions for an explanation of the challenge)
It was still dark outside when I got downstairs to the hotel lobby and started setting up my workspace. The faux fireplace warmed up the room considerably helping it to feel a little more like “home” than simply a place I am just passing through. Peeking through the sheer gold drapes, I breathed in the peaceful stillness blanketed by the fresh snowfall during the night. I love Colorado in winter.
I always have.
So, I turned my attention to the challenge verse for today, Philippians 3:10. I closed my eyes and wanted to slowly roll the verse over and over to myself, but Jesus instantly confronted me.
“Is knowing Me the passion of your heart?” Jesus asked.
I wasn’t expecting his early morning ambush.
“Aaaahh, uh, I think so…I don’t know…I’m not sure…
“How exactly do we know Jesus anyway?” I wondered to myself.
Bam! Three statements invaded my thoughts even before I had the chance to form my question into words: we show up, we are present when we show up, and we are silent so Jesus can speak.
How do we get to know Jesus?
We show up
Showing up to be with Jesus is really easy when I have a controlled routine. I get up, grab my hoodie, fuzzy slippers, journal, Bible, and 3 x 5 cards. I make a cup of chai and curl up in my favorite spot by the window. Having a routine helps ensure success.
Despite my tireless efforts to prevent distractions that would rob me of my time with Jesus, inevitably I will be sabotaged by the unexpected. So will you.
Sometimes all it takes to rob you of your time with Jesus is for you to have forgotten to put the trash out. Just as you’re settling in, you suddenly leap from your morning rendezvous with Jesus and fly out the garage door barefoot. In the early morning frenzy, you drive your speeding trash bin over the ice-covered driveway to the curb only to arrive seconds after the trash truck has passed you by. Careening into your peace-filled morning with Jesus is now the anxiety of the unexpected. It can steal us away from Jesus.
How do we get to know him?
We show up.
Currently, we’re on the road…indefinitely. Sometimes we stay in unfamiliar homes, sometimes in hotels. I don’t have room in my suitcase for my hoody or my fuzzy slippers. I ran out of 3 x 5 cards weeks ago, I don’t have a fridge to store milk for my chai, and forget curling up in a “favorite” spot. Finding any spot that another human being isn’t currently occupying is a serious challenge when you’re staying in a hotel long-term. I live in a context of constant distraction.
This morning as I prayed through this passage, Jesus asked me just to show up. Regardless of routine, in spite of routine, and without any identifiable routine, he wants me to show up and has promised to meet me in whatever condition I happen to be in. He offers the same to you…
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
We are present when we show up
Being present during my time with the Lord is a severe challenge for me. I am a proud and avowed infomaniac; I love to learn new things. I love to study, gather information, pursue perplexing conundrums, and research. If I had my way, I’d be in some university program for the rest of my earthly life.
As a result, my computer can be my greatest friend or my worst enemy when it comes to time alone with the Lord. I am constantly referring to online concordances and Bible translations when I’m with the Lord, but they are only one click away from the local news headlines, weather, and my e-mail. I know that corralling my cyber-connection is on the Lord’s heart, so I’m going to submit that to him during this challenge and see what he asks of me…I’ll let you know more when I know. For now, I know he wants to start a conversation with me about it.
We are silent so Jesus can speak
In order to “consider Jesus” during this month’s challenge; I have be able to hear him. In order to hear him; I have to let him speak. In order to let him speak; I have to stop talking.
In our family we sometimes have to institute what we call the “ten-second rule.” My husband, Bob, ordinarily will not jump into a fast-moving conversation. Instead, he waits for an opportunity to contribute something meaningful. Given that words (and opinions) come easy to the boys and me, we sometimes overrun Bob with our fast-paced dialogue. So, periodically we have to invoke the ten-second rule to give Bob a chance to get in on the conversation. Someone starts the timer and the rest of us have to sit silently for ten seconds to allow Bob the opportunity to speak. I cannot tell you how L O N G ten seconds can seem! Most of the time we fail and someone jumps in on Bob’s time. However, when we are patient and he is given the latitude to talk, we are always benefitted by how profound he is.
If we want to “know” Jesus, we need to turn off the spigots of our words, fears, wants, whines, and worries. It isn’t that Jesus doesn’t care about them, he does. But turning them off and allowing Jesus to speak, will open the door to knowing him better.
All my spewing at Jesus teaches me nothing about him. When I stop to listen to him, I’ll hear his heartbeat. When I hear his heartbeat, I’ll know him better.
Want to join the 30 day challenge? Click the picture of Jesus on the right hand side of the blog for tomorrow’s Challenge Verse.
(John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”)
© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.