Priority-Driven Living (Mark 1:32-39)

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Priority-Driven Livin’

How Jesus lived busy but purposeful–Mark 1:32-39


Time is a major problem.  How do you accomplish all you have to do?  All you want to do? Or even all you should do?  What is the most common adult excuse?  “Well, I know I should, but I just don’t have enough [what?] time.”  Do you have the feeling your life is out of balance?  Sure you do, but how do you get a handle on your time?

Because I’m a pastor, there are a lot of people who feel like they have a real stake in establishing my time priorities.  They’ve been . . . very . . . helpful.  Men have come up to me and said, “Chris, we have come to the conclusion that when your physical body quits, your spiritual ministry will be over—therefore, your physical fitness is a top priority.”  They poke me in the tummy and say, “Your physical fitness is a priority, don’t you agree?”  I take one look at those athletic types and agree.  So I try to work out every chance I get–I make it happen.

Others have come up to me and said, “Chris, you’re very much a doer and we worry that with all this ministry, you can overlook the necessity of deriving your strength from prayer, because your prayer life has to be a top priority, don’t you agree?”  Of course I agree.

Shortly thereafter somebody came up to me and said, “Chris, we understand preachers are supposed to know what God’s Word says, and then apply it to where people are living.”  I said, “That’s right.”  They said, “Well, in order for you to be in touch, you’d better be reading the websites, books, and blogs we all read–don’t you agree?”  I did, but . . . unfortunately I didn’t have any more hours in the day.  So I tried to work out, holding a book in front of me to catch up with my reading, while closing one eye in order to pray.

Then someone came up and said, “Chris, we’re worried about your family.  You seem to be investing so much time into the Word of God, prayer and other people, perhaps you’re neglecting your own family.  Your family is your responsibility, understand?”  I said, “Yes, I understand that.  But I thought, as I was helping you with your family, you might help me with mine.”  “No, that’s not how it works. You take care of yours.”  So now I would work out, read with one eye closed, with my family exercising together with me.

Shortly thereafter, somebody said, “Chris, you look exhausted.  Are you getting enough rest?  The Bible says six days you shall labor, but you rest for one.  You understand that, don’t you?”  Yes I do.  So now I had to figure out how to work out, read, pray, with my family, all the while relaxing.  That’s crazy isn’t it?

Do you have problems with your time?  I do.  So what’s the answer?  Focus on what’s important!  Live by your priorities.  And you will never guess who was the master at living by His priorities–anyone?  Jesus Christ was a genius at this.  He didn’t waste any time.  He didn’t invest in trivia.  He had very clear objectives.  Look at John 8:14.  Jesus said, “I know where I came from and I know where I am going.”   WOW–very clear objectives.  A strong passage is Luke 9:51, “Jesus resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem.  He knew where He was going.”

So today, let’s ask the pointed personal question–are you pushing too hard, wiping out, burning out or super weary?  The reason that is happening is simple–it is a test from God and/or you have lost your focus, your priorities.  People get lost when they forget where they’re going.  Yet when you compare Luke 2:29 and John 17:4, you see focus.

Luke 2:29, Jesus says “I must be about my Father’s business.”  How old was Jesus when He said that?  He was 12.  At age 12, Jesus already knew what He was doing.  Then at the end of His life in John 17:4, He said He had “completed the work you gave me to do.”  That is what I call a focused life–priority driven livin’.

Now when Jesus said He had completed His work, had He healed everybody?  No.  Was everyone converted?  No.  Then how could He say He completed His work?  He completed the work “God gave Him to do.”  God gives us work to do each day, and there is enough day to get everything done that’s in God’s will.  Not everything, but everything that’s in God’s will.

I don’t have time for everything and neither do you.  But I do have just enough time to do the will of God.  And if I have more things to do on my “to do” list than I can possibly accomplish, it means one of two things . . .

1)  I am doing them the wrong way, or

2)  There’s something on that list that’s not God’s will, because you and I have just enough time to do God’s will.

Luke 10:41—let’s read it together.  “Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things, but only one thing is needed.”  Do you know what I have discovered?  If Satan can’t get you to do bad things, he’ll get you to do so many good things, you wear out and can’t do the best things.  Why do so few Christians share the Gospel, disciple Christians, serve in ministry, or love others?  Because, they’re doing the good but not the best.  Jesus says, “One thing is needful.”  Paul said, “This one thing I do,” not these twenty things I dabble in (Phil 3:13).

Some of you have so many irons in the fire, you put the fire out.  You have, or you will.  If you burn the candle at both ends, you’re not as bright as you think you are.  All great athletes know–to do one thing well, you have to let other things go.  Even Orville Redenbacher knows, do one thing well and be the best at it.  Yet most of us live the axiom, God loves you and everyone else has a wonderful plan for your life.  No, God has a plan each day, and it’s found in His Word, and in a life daily lived under the control of His Spirit.

Priority driven people realize you accomplish more by doing less.  Priority-driven people ask themselves each day, what will make the most difference for eternity.  Light that’s focused is a laser—it’s powerful.  But light that’s unfocused is powerless.  Priority-driven people are focused people.  They practice systematic abandonment of non-essentials.  You can’t keep adding things without cutting other things out.  Priority-driven people plan to neglect the secondary issues.

What does God want from you?  Glorify Him, love Him, make disciples, and live and share the Gospel.  Everything else is secondary.  The main thing is to make sure the main thing remains the main thing.  How do we learn this?  Through the example of Jesus Christ.  Right at the start, the gospel of Mark tells us Jesus is God in the flesh, prophesied by the Old Testament prophets, announced by John the Baptist, affirmed by the other members of the trinity, proclaiming the Gospel, and calling men to spread the Gospel, which is the good news that God Himself has made a way for His people to be restored to God.  God Himself has made it possible for people to be forgiven, internally transformed, made right and ready for heaven.

And as Christ’s public ministry heats up in His second year, we see Him driven to live His priorities in a very dramatic way.  Three incredible events in one day have rocked this town on the north end of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus wowed the Capernaum synagogue with His 1) authoritative teaching in verses 21 to 22, and He has blown the city away by His 2) authority over demons in 23 to 28, and it seems the community is stirred up over His 3) ability to heal with Peter’s mother-in-law being instantly cured in 29 to 31.

The shockwaves of these three events awaken hope in everyone’s heart.  Just imagine having a sick child or a diseased parent, a debilitating injury or a brother who is possessed by a demon some have.  And now you hear or see Christ teach, cast out or heal the sick with one word, instant demon deliverance or immediate healing.  If it were me, I would plan to get that sick, hurt or possessed relative/friend to Jesus as quickly as possible–and that is exactly what happens in Capernaum as soon as they can come.  As they do, they discover Jesus is . . .

#1  Skilled in Ministry—verses 32 to 34

There was no Capernaum Gazette, nor, but the intense excitement created by these three events, spread by personal reports, create an explosive reaction, starting at sundown in verses 32 to 34.  “When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed.  33 And the whole city [was] had gathered at the door. 34 And He healed many who [having] were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.”

Mark says the same thing two different ways to make sure we get it.  Verse 32, “It was dark and the sun had set.”  You see, its Sabbath, and the law in Exodus 20:10 prevented them from carrying any burdens on Saturday.  During the Jewish day of worship, they were not to travel or work.  They had to wait until the Sabbath was over, which officially ended at sunset, around 6 pm in the evening–literally, when three stars came out in the night sky.  So here is the entire community of Capernaum holding their excitement in check until they can see three stars in the evening sky.

Can you feel the tenseness as they waited?  Like the silent pause just before the starter gun–I don’t think it is a stretch to picture them preparing their sick child or wounded parent or possessed relative for the trip to Peter’s house to see Jesus.  For Mark tells us in verse 34, “they began bringing to Him all who were ill, and those who were demon-possessed.”  They were continually bringing all who were ill or possessed.  This corresponds to the two miracles earlier in the day–casting out the demon of the possessed man in the synagogue, and healing Peter’s mother-in-law sick with fever.

To be ill is to suffer badly, be miserable or tormented physically with some sickness, disease or affliction.  The Greek word ill is literally “all that have it badly.”  To be demon possessed is to be indwelt and tormented by a wicked fallen angel.  Verse 34 says, “They began bringing all to Him.”  Bringing means to carry, to bear as a burden, telling us what was happening.

Picture a constant, growing flow of friends and family, each group tenderly assisting or carrying, laying on a stretcher or wheeling on a cart those too sick to walk on their own to be cured of their debilitating sickness.  And envision those possessed, potentially tied up, roped, even chained, being brought unwillingly to face their sovereign King.  Then visualize these groups, growing into a crowd in front of Peter’s front door, then a mob around the house, and finally a multitude from the entire city, seeking deliverance for their broken loved ones.

The Greek tells us it was like a marathon race before it begins–it was packed, and the area continued to load with a flow of people.  Case after case was brought to Christ to be healed or delivered.  Verse 32 says “all”–they began bringing to Him all.  Then verse 33 adds, “And the whole city had gathered at the door.”  Peter’s house was mobbed.  The tense of the verb gathered means they all assembled together, then remained together until each group managing a sick or possessed person was able to visit Christ personally.

Verse 34 adds, “And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons.”  Use of the word many does not mean there were some who were not healed.  Mark is not referring to Jesus’s inability or lack of time, so only many were healed.  No, many is telling us it was not a few who were brought to Christ, but a large, massive number too big to count—many.  Mark uses many in the Hebraic sense for the entire community–Jesus healed everyone who was brought to Him that night.

The gospels make this clear–Matthew 8:16, “Christ healed all who were ill.”  And notice how Dr. Luke describes this event in 4:40, “While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.”  Dr. Luke pictures the procession of the sick being brought one-by-one to Jesus who, paying “due attention” to each person, He then lovingly places His hands on them to heal each of them.

At no time did Christ’s power to heal ever lack, nor did His compassion ever crack.  Jesus literally vanquished sickness and demonic attack in the town of Capernaum—awesome.  What a sight this was.  Can you see it?  Crutches are thrown away, sick mats are discarded as fevers are gone, stomach agonies disappear, limbs rebuilt, the comatose are lucid, bones are mended, sight is regained, hearing restored–suddenly and completely healed, no recuperation required, no recovery period needed . . . fully restored to health and vigor.  Onlookers, friends and family are all in a state of frenzied joy.  What a night this was.

And notice in verses 32 and 34, Mark makes a point of distinguishing between illness and demon possession.  There is a big difference between healing and exorcism.  There are some who confuse them, viewing sickness as something caused by demons, or only as the result of intentional sin, when the gospels make a clear distinction between the demons and sickness.  Friends, when you have allergies, you are not being assaulted by the demon of post nasal drip–you have allergies.  God allows sickness on this fallen planet even with His own children, to accomplish His purposes in your life–never to punish, for all punishment for your sin was accomplished on the cross of Christ–and Jesus said, “It is finished.”

In fact, the cross is somewhat in view in verse 34–do you see it?  “And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.”  Christ was not permitting the demons to speak—literally, Jesus gagged them.  That does not mean they didn’t say anything, but this verse tells us why Christ muzzled the demons.  He was preventing them from going on about who He was.

On three occasions in Mark, demons are gagged to silence–1:25 and 34, 3:11.  Jesus commands silence after four miracles–the leper in 1:44, the raising of a dead girl in 5:43, the healing of a deaf mute in 7:36 and the healing of a blind man in 8:26.  And twice Jesus withdraws from crowds to escape overt detection of exactly who He was–in 7:24 and 9:30.

Why does Christ silence the demon, command silence or slip away from dramatic outpouring of sovereign Creator power?  The verb in verse 34 is literally “He was not permitting,” indicating that Christ repeatedly, again and again refused to let these demons speak out as they desired to do.  This was contrary to the usual technique of exorcism, which sought to force the demons to speak out to reveal themselves.

Mark tells us Jesus silenced the demons because they knew who He was–God the Son, the Holy One from God, the one who’d be the final sacrificial lamb, deliver people from sin, and rescue those enslaved to the kingdom of darkness through the cross.  So why does Jesus silence them?

*Jesus does not want or need the testimony of an evil demon.

*Jesus does not want in any way to align Himself with a demon or the forces of darkness.  He is not on their team at all.

*The Lord does not want the affirmation of a demon, nor give the accusation that He functions by the power of Satan any credibility.

*Christ doesn’t want any witness given grudgingly or given in fear.

*Christ does not want to be proclaimed by one who is deceptive.

*Christ has a perfect plan when He’ll offer Himself as a sacrifice on the cross, and it is not to be controlled or rushed by the enemy.

Jesus Christ knew why He had come, and knew that the ultimate power of God was not going to be manifested in healing the sick or casting out demons, but in providing salvation to many.  He says it clearly in Mark 10:45, the theme verse of this gospel.  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Christ wants to be known more for the Gospel than for miracles.  Christ desires to focus on internal transformation over external healing or mere demonic deliverance.  God’s power finds its clearest expression on the cross.  He came to be the suffering Servant who would go to the cross and display the power of God in a far greater way than miracles.  It’s the ultimate power of God that delivers sinful people from hell.

Ironically, the command to be silent often resulted in the opposite reaction.  The more He commanded them to be silent, the more they kept talking about what Christ did, which we will clearly see at the end of chapter 1 with the healing of the leper.  So everything is going great, the sick are healed, the possessed are delivered, the crowds are pursuing Christ.  But don’t be fooled–most of those who came that night merely wanted healing.  They wanted deliverance from torment.  We can’t blame them, but don’t forget these folks foreshadow millions who come to Christ for His blessings, but not for Him.  Many come for favors, but not to follow Christ.  Many want their problems solved, but not to pursue salvation.  Many desire the gifts God gives, but not to live for God’s glory.  Many live for sensations, but have not submitted.

Jesus said in John 6:26, “You seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”  Have you come to Christ for your pleasures, or for His praise?  Are you using Christ, or is Christ using you?  Are you getting or glorifying?  In verse 34, Christ is successful.  Today, the T-shirt vendors, concert promoters and book dealers would all be showing up, as youtube is flooded with dramatic healing and deliverance scenes.  Jesus is hot; He is famous.  Right now He is very popular.  So what does Christ do?  He goes off to be . . .

#2  Secluded in Prayer–verse 35

Verse 35 says, “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”  Early morning means between 3 and 6 a.m.–it’s the early watch before the dawn.  Mark makes sure we realize it’s still night time–it’s dark, it’s before anyone was up.  Jesus was laying down, He gets up, leaves the house, and walks out of town.

Secluded is isolated, lonely and desolate. There’s nothing special about this place, except that it’s a quiet and uninhabited spot.  It could have been the hills behind Capernaum, or the shoreline on either side of the city, or one of the ravines in the region.  After one of the busiest days of Christ’s public ministry, after He is humanly exhausted from showing compassion to so many, instead of sleeping in, catching some Z’s and recovering physically–Christ gets up before the sun and before anyone is even awake, so He can enjoy alone time with His Father in prayer.

A lot of commentators invested pages postulating what it was that Jesus talked about with His Father.  Answer: we don’t know!  But we do know through the gospels that Jesus attached great importance to prayer.  Jesus Himself prayed at His baptism, just before choosing the twelve disciples, at the feeding of the 5,000, when He asked His disciples a crucial question, when He was transfigured, just before He gave the invitation to come to me all who are weary, just before He instituted the Lord ’s Supper, on the cross, and after His resurrection.  All of these pointing to a much more extensive prayer life not recorded in the gospels.

The prayers we do read in the gospels show how genuine, intimate, trustful, unselfish and God-glorifying His prayers were.  Do you remember how Jesus prayed?

Matthew 11:25, “I praise You, Father . . . that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

John 17:17 to 18, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

Matthew 26:39, “And He . . . fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’”

Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus urged all His followers to pray–Matthew 6:6 to 8, “When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7 And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

And Jesus taught His followers to pray–Matthew 6:9 to 13, “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’”

Here He was, God in the flesh, the God man, the second person of the Trinity, the One who is genuinely one with the Father.  Yet Jesus needed, desired and delighted in prayer.  Jesus was a man of prayer!  The priority of His life was a steady, constant communion with His Father.  If He, being very God, prayed to His Father, how much more should we, because of our sin and flesh?

Exegete and pastor Donald Barnhouse said this.  “If Jesus in His great power and oneness with God could feel the urgent necessity of communion with the Father, how much more you and I need to go to the Father for the strength that fills our weakness and the knowledge that fills our ignorance.”  If the Lord needed prayer, how much more do we need to pray?

Prayer is like a time exposure on a photo–the longer you pray, keeping your life open to the God of light, then you, made in His image, will look more like Jesus.  Prayer doesn’t ultimately change God’s will, but it actually changes your will to be conformed to God’s will.  And prayer is how Jesus re-adjusted His priorities.  In the midst of Jesus’s success in ministry, Jesus prays, which results in the Lord walking away from all His popularity to pursue His greater priorities.  What happens?  Jesus is . . .

#3  Sought after by Everyone—verses 36 to 37

Verses 36 to 37, “Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37 they found Him, and said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You.’”  I love Simon Peter–he was the leader in giftedness and character.  Sadly, like gifted leaders throughout the gospels, you hear Peter’s mouth often out in front of His brain.

Yet if you think you are a leader, here is the test!  Look behind you, and if there are no followers, then you’re not a leader.  And in verse 36 you see Peter has led his companions in a desperate search for Jesus.  Most likely Andrew, John and James and potentially others were literally hunting down the Lord.  “Searched for” means Jesus is out in the middle of nowhere, and they track Him down in a strenuous and determined pursuit.

Their search is successful.  And like finding your lost car keys when you’re late for an important appointment, they run breathlessly up to Jesus, interrupt Him in the midst of His communion with His Father, and repeatedly blurt out, “Everyone is continually looking for You.”  What are you doing here when you have all of Galilee eating out of your hand?  Here is your moment.  You’re missing it, Jesus. This is it.  The crowds are ready to do anything for you!

The crowds did not want Jesus to leave–the gospel of Luke records the people actually tried to keep Jesus from going away.  Think about it–Jesus just threw the biggest miracle party ever witnessed, so the disciples are thinking, “Lets do miracle crusades.”  A big mistake–they are telling Jesus what to do.  Don’t do that.

They’re little, He’s the Lord.  They’re servants, He’s the Sovereign.  Jesus’s men are caught up in the excitement.  They are telling Jesus, He must return to Capernaum and start capitalizing on His tremendous popularity.  But in reality, what they’re proposing is . . . like a politician, Jesus should regulate His movements by the desire of the masses.  They want Jesus to do what the crowd wants, not what God wants.  They want Jesus to be a pleaser of men and not a pleaser of God.

But, no one can maintain their priorities and do what is best if they live their life to merely please others.  Paul said in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”  So what does Jesus do?  He remains.

#4  Single minded in spreading the Gospel—verses 38 to 39

Verse 38, “He said to them, ‘Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach.”  Wow—this is radical, shocking, hurtful, strange and amazing.  Jesus says, I’m going to stop showing compassion to the hurting in order to share a message with others.  Many in Capernaum were personal friends, yet He is going to leave His friends to share a message with strangers.

Jesus is going to leave the wave of popularity where a movement has started, and He could possibly even throw off the yoke of Rome, and travel to obscurity, in order to hopefully preach some sermons.  When Jesus says “I may preach,” it is not a certainty, but a hope.  His passion is to stay on task–to pass by good, to do best, to stick with the most important–to be “driven to livin’ His priorities.”  When He says, “Let us go” in verse 38, it’s literally, “Let us keep continually going.”  Literally, “let me lead you out of here to go to other towns, where I can proclaim the good news.”

Jesus wants His men to go with Him, with “let us go.”  And Jesus wants to go to multiple population centers, in order to carry out His primary mission.  Rather than feed the miracle-frenzied crowds with more of what they want, the Lord is focused on proclaiming the Gospel.

Get this, my friends–Jesus Christ is always more interested in spiritual healing than physical healing.  Jesus is always more interested in internal transformation than external restoration.  Jesus is always more concerned about the lost being rescued than the low being rehabilitated.

Yes, you should be compassionate, help the hurting, minister to the widow and orphan–but your goal in doing so is to point to Christ and the only message that can rescue them from eternal Hell, and bring them forever to heaven–point to the Gospel.

Jesus said the Gospel was His purpose in verse 38.  “He said to them, ‘Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.’”  Dr. Luke tells us at this moment Jesus actually said in Luke 4:43, “for I was sent for this purpose.”  This is my priority.  “That is what I came for” is literally why I came out.  This is why I came out of heaven, to earth–this is why I am here.

Preaching the good news was central–more important than miracles.  Miracles demonstrate the power of God, display Christ’s compassion and affirm the authority of Christ as sovereign God come in the flesh–but Jesus was determined to not allow pre-occupation with miracles to obscure the most important message anyone can hear.

Miracles must not distract from the historical fact that God Himself has provided a way for people to be restored to their Creator.  Miracles were the authenticating sign that the message was true.  But miracles had a way of overshadowing the message–they had a way of providing relief from the symptoms of sin, without curing the disease.  They had a way of actually keeping people from seeking full deliverance.  Miracles brought compassion, but not confession.  Miracles brought a frenzy, but did not always elicit faith.

Whenever Jesus was simply sought as a miracle worker, He deliberately left to teach elsewhere.  His primary objective was not to heal the sick, but herald the salvation of the Gospel.  So Jesus makes it clear, He must maintain the priority of preaching, which is proclaiming the Gospel—announcing the news is why Jesus left heaven and came to earth.  This is what I came out for—from heaven, from God, to you.

This is a stunning truth–God would condescend to earth and take on human flesh, coming with a specific purpose to proclaim the good news that God has provided the only way.  Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  The message of the Gospel needs to be heard.  It needed to be heard then, and it still needs to be heard today.

So what did Jesus do?  He was obedient!  Verse 39, “And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.”  Mark summarizes the Galilee preaching tour by focusing on Christ’s two major activities–preaching and casting out demons, especially those who interrupted the teaching.

This tour may have gone on for months.  Matthew describes it this way in Matthew 4:23, “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”  Christ showed compassion, but passionately shared the Gospel to all.  How about you, Christian?  Let me ask you three questions:

1)  Do you have your priorities straight?  When no one is looking, when you are out and about, when you are alone with your family or friends, are you seeking to put Christ on display?  Do you know what the Bible says is the most important?  Are you relying on the Spirit, moment by moment?  Are you distracted on lesser tasks, and missing living out your purpose on this planet?  Are you so caught up in showing mercy that you have forgotten to show the Master and share the message?

2)  Are you dependent in prayer?  With everything you do, are you dependently relying on the Lord in prayer?  Are you asking Him to give you wisdom to know what is best, versus that which is merely good?  If Jesus was dependent upon His Father, how much more should we be dependent in prayer.  Start small, five minutes a day—but pray!  Carry a card and pen with you to remind you to pray.  Start asking Him about everything–He loves your prayers.

3)  Are you passionate about His person?  So many people attach themselves to Christianity without actually knowing Christ Himself.  They know about who Christ is and what Christ has done, but they have not been transformed by Christ.  And often they are the ones who are consumed with the miraculous, and only what Christ can do for them.  Like Matthew 7:22 to 23, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

Then who are the genuine believers?  Jesus just said it, Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”  Those who know Christ are those who want to do what Christ wants, are willing to do anything for Christ, and worship Him with all their hearts–so they actually do the will of God.  They follow Christ by obeying His Word–is that you?

C.H. Spurgeon said, “A man’s heart has only enough life in it to pursue one object fully–and that object is Jesus Christ.”  Let’s pursue Him today.



About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.