Today I have an audio for you again! This is exciting for me because I know some of you prefer to listen. The audio comes from a prayer time at my church, as we paused as a congregation to quiet and examine our hearts.
I’ve been reading through the gospel of Mark with my discipleship group, and I am loving it. I’m reading slowly, with intention and re-reading chapters over and over. And as I’ve read, I’ve noticed I’m worshiping and loving Jesus in fresh ways, and am convicted freshly of my own sin…the Word does that to us right? It convicts BEFORE it can truly comfort.
A major theme I’ve noticed is the crowd that follows Jesus, literally, everywhere, day and night, constantly pressing in with their needs. I’ve noticed that Jesus responds quite differently than I tend to – He has pity, He shows compassion, and mostly, He stays at peace.
Even their constant need, and I mean constant need, check out Mark chapter 1, doesn’t disturb His inner peace, and His abiding in the Father’s love. Anybody have a posse of little kids? You can relate to the constant following and never-ending need, and even franticness when they think the need will not be met.
And yet, Jesus.
Sometimes I think it’s easy to forget that Jesus was not only fully God,but also fully man. The author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus was made like us, in every respect:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16; also see: Hebrews 1:10-18!)
His mighty outer works flowed from an inner place of deep and constant abiding with God.
He had to seek His Father for grace for the day, every day. He sought desolate places to pray and be alone regardless of what those around Him thought.
I’m convicted at what that means for me. If Jesus needed time and space to draw near to God, and abide with the Father – truly remain and sink His roots down deep into the Father’s love so that no outward circumstance could control him, how much more do I? Do we? As Elizabeth Elliot wisely said,
“The secret (to keeping a quiet heart) is Christ in us, not us in a different set of circumstances.”
Striving to enter His rest, like Hebrews 4:11 says, is an active endeavor. How actively do we strive to abide in the Father’s love, VERSUS our own good works, knowledge, self-sufficiency, or even fears?
I’m going to share with you a prayer that’s burned in my heart and that I prayed with our congregation, because maybe, amidst my words, you’ll find your own. After all, the Psalms are prayers that we take and pray and they become our own…So here’s mine for the taking. Maybe we can silence our hearts together, free from the distractions that are often of our own making, and confess where we don’t abide in His perfect love and peace…where we don’t believe He gives enough manna – daily bread – for today…
Jesus – thank you that you remained perfectly in loving union with God. It’s amazing to think about you becoming human as we are, being made like us, being tempted and suffering so that you could be our faithful high priest, who sympathizes with our weaknesses. Yet, sympathizing as One who remained perfectly sinless, fighting hard a battle that we often stop fighting. Thank you that you were sinless – even as the crowds pushed around giving you little rest, even as you were misunderstood and jeered at, and even rejected by some of your closest followers – you remained rooted and abiding in the Father’s love, not allowing the outward circumstances to change your inner peace and your identity. I thank you that as believers we are hidden in you and clothed in your righteousness, and even in your perfect abiding.
But I confess my lack of abiding in you – my forgetfulness to live out of my union with you. Show me where I unite myself more with my outward circumstances than with you, where I let go of your peace and enter the striving of productivity, self-righteousness, or my fears and insecurities.
I repent of not thinking you are enough. I repent of not believing your grace will be enough for the future. I repent of not making time alone with you a priority – filling my minds and hearts and souls with the Words of life – your Word that sustains life.
Thank you that your mercy is more than I could ever imagine. Thank you that your kindness leads me to repentance, and for your overwhelming grace and forgiveness for me in Christ.
I trust He is enough.
Your grace is sufficient.
May we abide well, being rooted and strengthened in your love, not striving to enter a rest of our own making, but always striving to keep a quiet heart and enter your rest that you secured for us.