Keith shares his thought for the week; being with Jesus.
I love the Book of Acts, I’m sure you love it too. That historical book there in the New Testament that just outlines for us the early moving of the Holy Spirit and the adventure that these new Christians went on as the church was born.
One of the most startling accounts is what we find in Acts chapter 4, John and Peter have been out on the streets, they’ve seen the healing of a lame man and they’re dragged before the high priests who demand that they stop preaching the gospel. Peter gives a very significant message to them, he outlines the message of Jesus and this is what we read in Acts chapter 4, a phrase that always strikes me. In Acts chapter 4 verse 13 it says,
when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.Acts 4:13
They had been with Jesus, that doesn’t just mean to say they’d casually hung out with Jesus, that doesn’t mean to say that they were a distant acquaintance of him. What they’re saying here in their observation is that these men have been discipled, they’ve been trained, they’ve been empowered and they’ve been released by Jesus because the message that they are giving to the high priests is the same message that Jesus himself preached. They didn’t go with their own agenda, they went with the agenda that Jesus had in his heart for these people. They had been with him.
Now I’m just astonished that sometimes when I pray and maybe you feel the same way, I’m constantly asking Jesus to be with me. Be with me today as I travel to and from work, be with me as I meet with people, be with me as I’m going about my daily life. Maybe you’re the same, maybe that’s your prayer. We have great assurances in the Bible that God is close to us, that he loves us, that he’s ever near to us, and that we can’t go anywhere without him. Sometimes we kind of misquote scripture a little bit. We’ll say “well Jesus promised in Matthew 28 to be with us even till the end of the age”, but that promise is preceded by a command that we are to “go and to make disciples and to train nations in what it is to know and love the Lord. Then I am with you always till the end of the age.”
See that promise comes with a command and some of the promises of God don’t. Some of the promises of his present don’t come with a condition attached but that one does. You see when I’m praying for Jesus to be with me, very often what I’m doing is I’m asking God to just toe the line of my agenda but what they saw in Peter and John was that they had been with Jesus and that’s subtly different. See that means they’re serving a different agenda than their own.
I want to encourage you this year that as we emphasize putting God first in everything that our prayer is Lord help me to be with you. We don’t mean that in the final sense of being promoted to glory. We mean that in a sense of prioritizing our time and making sure that we’re investing in our primary relationship with God. We do that through studying and reading the word of God and I know that’s tough, I know that’s hard, particularly with young families and pressures at work and these things but even today we have more help available to us than we ever have before.
So why not download a Bible app and listen to the Bible on audio settings as you go to and from work? Get it into you, spend time with him on that commute. When your toddlers are having a nap and I know how hard that can be to have a decent quiet time when you’ve got young kids around. We’ve lived through that with our grandparents when our grandkids are around it’s like a tornado has hit the place. We think how are we ever going to spend time with God but we managed to do that you know even when they’re napping we’ll go and just read the word of God. Spend time with him, spend some time in prayer with him not just listing demands and requests but sometimes I find the most valuable time of prayer is to just sit and be silent for a few minutes in the day. It helps me to recoup but it also means I’m there just being with Jesus.
My prayer for myself this year is that I will be someone that people say he’s been with Jesus. My prayer for you is that you too will find the time and the capacity to be with Jesus. May God bless you this week.
Every week one of our members shares a short thought aiming to inspire you for the week. You can watch previous Thought For The Week videos by clicking here.