Have you heard the story about the farmer who went to harvest his field? On the way to get the tractor, his wife asked him to feed the chickens. But on the way to feed the chickens, he saw that the fence needed mending. But when he went to get a hammer and nails, he remembered that the cows needed to be milked. But when he went to look for the pails, he realized that he needed to paint the house … This went on all day until the sun had set and he had accomplished nothing!
Does your life ever look like this farmer’s day? Are you so busy running from one thing to another, that you never really accomplish anything? Have you lost your focus? Have you forgotten why you are trying to reach students for Christ?
In the middle of our hectic schedules we have the privilege to stop and focus on God. This devotion to God helps refresh and refocus us. When we are devoted to something, we set it apart as very important. Even Jesus set aside a special time with God. Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”
This is not as simple as it seems. We have an enemy who doesn’t want us to be effective. We need to be aware of his tricks. If he can stop us from being devoted to God, he can actually stop our ministry. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the “activities” will stop, but the real spiritual impact will be gone. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid, that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
How has Satan recently led you astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ?
- Busy with ministry preparation and details? (Luke 10:38-42)
- Self-sufficient, “I-can-do-it-by-myself” attitude? (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)
- Wrapped up in meeting our own needs with things the world offers?(1 John 2:15-17)
- Lazy, no discipline? (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Did I miss any?
Drawing Near to God
Congratulations! You just took the first step in developing a healthy devotional life. To be devoted to Christ, we must first realize the tricks the enemy uses to trip us. Just think about it: If a nation that was at war did not know where the enemy was likely to attack, they would not be able to prepare and make a stand to fight. Now that you know where the enemy will attack, you can prepare. Remember this admonition and promise in James 4:7: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinner; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
So, now that you are ready to resist the devil, let’s look at the next thing this verse says: “Draw near to God.” If you are like me, you can sometimes feel shy to approach God. At times I wonder, “Is He too busy for me?” “Am I presentable?” “What if He doesn’t respond?” When you feel like this, you might want to go to Luke 15:11-32 and read the story of the Prodigal Son. When the son returned to the father, the father ran to him, embraced him and gave him a party. God is like this father – just waiting for us. We never need to doubt that He wants to spend time with us or wonder if He will respond. He promises it! The Bible is full of examples of Him doing this.
Jesus is the best example on how to draw near to God.
He Focused on God
Jesus worshipped. In Matthew 17:1-5 Jesus took some of His friends and climbed a mountain to stand in the presence of God. The Bible says that Jesus’ appearance changed and that His face became as bright as the sun. You are changed, too, when you worship God. Your life will reflect His character.
How do you worship? There are as many ways as there are people, but here are some ideas:
- Study the attributes of God. This means to learn more about who God is. There are several great books out there. One example is “GOD: Discover His Character” by Bill Bright. Check your local Christian bookstore for more ideas.
- Read the Psalms. Be careful not to just read them, but really think about them throughout the day. If you read one psalm a day, you won’t be overwhelmed, and it will only take five months to read them all.
- Music. Face it, you listen to music all the time – while getting ready in the morning, when driving in the car, while cleaning house, at church on Sunday. Spend more time with music that will draw you closer to God.
He often went away by himself to pray or teach His disciples how to pray. It was obviously an important thing for Him. But have you ever felt like you didn’t know what to say? Or maybe you had too much to say and don’t know where to begin. Remember, prayer is just talking with God like you would a friend. You don’t need fancy words.
Here is an idea that may help you get started: A - Adoration – Praise God for who He is. C - Confession – Admit to God where you have failed and receive His forgiveness. T - Thanksgiving – Thank God for all that He has done. S - Supplication – Ask God for His help.
You do not pray to change God’s mind, but to let Him change your mind. When you pray, you are on a hunt to discover God’s heart. What an adventure!
Jesus Knew God’s Word
Not only did He know it, but He also used it. What did Jesus do when tempted by Satan? He quoted Scripture. You can do the same thing. As you read the Bible, make sure that you understand it. And then make sure that you are using it. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Here is some closing encouragement for you: If you are so busy that you don’t have time for God, it is a good sign that you really need to take that time with Him. You can only give what you have received from God. Your ministry will only be as deep as your walk with God. There is nothing more worth it than spending time with God!