I have a two-year-old in my life. She is just learning to talk. She has unique ways of pronouncing words and sometimes it’s hard to decipher what she’s saying. At first, I would depend on her dad to translate for me. However, lately, I’ve discovered the best way to understand her is to spend time with her. The longer I’m with her, the easier it becomes to figure out what she’s saying. The more I listen to her, the better I become at learning her unique ways of communicating. Sometimes when I can’t understand her words, I can come to know what she’s saying by her expressions and body language. The more I’m around her, the easier it is to understand what she wants me to know.
I met a new friend recently. She was so excited to tell me all about herself. We talked (she talked) for what seemed like 30 minutes before she took a breath. I just listened. As we parted ways, she apologized when she realized she had talked the whole time, and while I left knowing a few things about her, she knew nothing about me.
I’m discovering there are two primary ways to get to know someone. The first is spending time with them. The second is listening. If your goal in a relationship is to know and understand the other person, you must spend time with them. And you need to listen more than you talk. When I first started walking with Jesus, I depended on others to translate what He was saying by listening to sermons and reading books. (Which is still a great way to hear from Him.) But now that I’ve spent time getting to know Him, it’s even sweeter when I can hear what He’s telling me without always depending on someone else to translate.
I had lunch last week with a friend who, like me, has been around the block a few times and has come to understand and appreciate the value of spending time every day with Jesus. We concluded that it’s not something you can really explain; it’s something you must experience. Once you’ve experienced spending time with Jesus, you come to understand the value of it.
Another friend of mine has a saying, “You can’t spend time with Jesus every day and not be changed.”
An author friend of mine says it similarly when asked her definition of the word Abide. She says to abide is to sit at the feet of Jesus every day, listening to His words with a heart to obey.
This is the key to a successful Christian life. It’s spending time with Jesus every day.
In Philippians 3.10, Paul writes, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.”
As we are all in different seasons, this will look different in each of our lives.
I’m currently in a season where I don’t have children at home. I don’t have a job that requires me to leave early in the morning, so for me, I’m able to make spending time with Jesus a priority first thing in the morning.
My normal routine is to go downstairs and ceremoniously make my tea (the way the Brits taught me), light my candles, and then sit at His feet. I am intentional to abide with Jesus every morning. To sit at His feet, reading His word and listening to Him, with a heart to obey.
I know many of you are in a season where you have to be at work early in the morning or you have little ones with you all the time. (Or both!) I once heard someone say, “my children wake up at the crack of the Bible.” I remember those days; at one point I had five children under the age of eight, so I know how hard it is! While it may be more of a challenge for you to find 10 minutes to spend alone with Jesus, it’s not impossible. You just have to be intentional.
During that busy season of my life, a mentor friend of mine introduced me to the idea of having a tent. She referred to Genesis 12.8 which reads, “From there he (Abram) moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.”
Bethel, which means “house of bread” is symbolic for the church. Ai, which translates to “heap of ruins” can be symbolic of the world. Abram pitched his tent in between the two. And there he built an altar.
So, one way to spend time with Jesus is to get a tent. A tent can be any cute bag you choose to hold the contents of your “altar.” My tent usually holds these items: my Bible, a journal, a cute pen, a devotional or study I’m working on, a few notecards (in case the Lord prompts me to write a note to someone), usually a bottle of water and always a few pieces of chocolate.
Make it a habit to carry your tent every time you leave the house. You may not know as you go through your day when you’ll have ten minutes to pitch your tent. It may be while you’re waiting at the dentist or doctor’s office, in the carpool line waiting for a child, or in between other appointments. (Do yourself a huge favor; TAKE FACEBOOK OFF YOUR PHONE so you’re not tempted to waste your time scrolling through it mindlessly! – You’ve got more important things to do!)
The bottom line is this; spending time with Jesus every day is how your life will be transformed. Again, as my friend says, “You can’t sit at the feet of Jesus every day and not be changed. It just happens!”