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A Time for Quiet

The other day I was driving down the 1604 access road in the right hand lane, and then 'it' happened. Again. A sports car rolled up on me quickly, tailgating me, and then, after figuring out I was not going to speed up, whipped around me and then cut immediately in front of me and began riding the tailgate of the car in front of me. The speedster was almost boxed in by the person in front of him and the vehicle in the left lane, but, not to be deterred, he quickly shot the gap into the left hand lane, causing the car in the left lane to hit his breaks. The car continued to speed and zig and zag until he was out of sight. 

I shook my head, and thanked God for keeping us all safe. Then, God convicted me, so I said a prayer for the young man that he would come to his senses, slow down and not get hurt or continue to endanger others. 

As I was thinking, another thing hit me: this is how most people are living their lives, and, I can fall into that trap as well. What do I mean? Simply this: We often live our lives going a million miles and hour, checking off things on our 'to-do' list, taking care of our work, running our errands, doing our chores, paying our bills and so on, without really stopping to truly be still before God and to worship Him and to let Him be the One who orders our hearts and minds and schedules. 

Yes, we may slow down a little for Wednesday Bible studies, or for Saturday or Sunday worship and Bible studies, but it is so easy for us, as soon as we leave, to get back on the track, going as fast as we can to check off the next set of items on our list. God did not intend for us to live this way.

When we observe Jesus in Scriptures, we never see Him frantically rushing from one point to another. It was not uncommon for people to say, upon His arrival on the scene "where have you been?' or 'why didn't you come sooner?' 

Remember Mary and Martha's heartache when their brother Lazarus died and their response to Jesus when He arrived on the scene after Lazarus had already died?

When we observe Jesus, we see Him often going to a secluded place to pray, to be alone with the Father. I humbly submit that if God the Son needed that unrushed time with the Father, we need it as well. 

Yes, our culture is different than Jesus' was during His earthly ministry. There was no internet or cell phones or cars or time management experts. That said, we often do see people in Scripture rushing around here and there and missing God in the process. Just like we do today.

This is tragic.

Christmas is a wonderful time for us to slow down, to reorient our lives around the Lord Jesus, and to focus on those matters that are truly important from God's perspective. When we become Christians, we repent of our sins and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith, trusting in Him and Him alone, and, in that, we also are to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him. Jesus doesn't want (or deserve) our hurried leftovers. He deserves our lives. We are to present ourselves to Him as holy, living sacrifices, which is our reasonable act of worship considering all that He has done for us.

As someone once said: 'there is more to life than increasing its speed.' 

As Christians, we affirm key truths: The Scriptures are the authoritative Word of God. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. All that we do, we are to do for the glory of God. We are to make every thought captive to obedience to Christ. We are to pray and thank God continually.

We nod our heads when we hear these truths on a Wednesday, a Saturday, a Sunday, but what do we do with these truths the remainder of the day? The remainder of the week? 

Following Jesus is to be our life, not just a part of our life. Following Jesus requires faith and obedience and trust, and...the spiritual discipline to quiet ourselves before God to orient our lives around Him and His Word. 

Christmas is a great time to slow down and do just that, not just for 'this time of year,' but instead, to use 'this time of year' as a time to readjust our priorities. Yes the culture is busy and noisy and the Christmas season seems to come and go faster than it ever has and in all of this, Jesus gets lost in the season that bears His Name. How very sad.

My encouragement to us all this Christmas is to stop. Be still. Worship the Lord. Pray. Study the Word, and in that, listen to God, and, in that, ask the Holy Spirit to grant you grace to obey the Father. That takes intentionlity and yes, time. However, if we will do these things, we can look at our check lists and to do lists through clearer eyes. 

Spoiler alert: the 'to do' lists never get completed in life. You will always have things to tend to and things to do. Those things are not going anywhere. That said, we can all choose to be still before our God and to let Him shape and order our hearts, minds, priorities and our days. 

I pray that we do just that this Christmas.

I hope to see you in one of our Christmas Eve Candlelight and Lord's Supper Services this Christmas Eve. For information on that, please see the church website (and register)!

Grace to You,