But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. – Luke 5:16
What does alone time with God look like for you? If there is one thing that life, evil, busyness, or whatever one wants to call it keeps me from, it is removing all distractions and being alone with Him one-on-one . . . nobody else but me and Him. Jesus did it often. If He, being sinless needed to do it, how much more do you and I need to do it?
I think today’s Christians confuse doing things for God as spending time with God. I’ve done this before. You might think because you are preaching, studying for a sermon, reading a devotional, playing songs on the worship team, listening to praise and worship on His Radio or 106.9 the Light, or any other number of religious activities that you are spending time with Him. You are not. Jesus obviously didn’t count His ministry work as time with God. We shouldn’t either. He still took the time to be all alone with His Father.
I like to observe people, especially those who claim to be Godly people. When I visit a church, I love to watch the worship leaders, I closely watch the preacher, and if I know who the leaders of the church are, I like to observe them. I ask only one question: Have they been with Jesus? When the obvious answer is “yes,” it makes me want so badly to be with Him, too. It is like the disciples when they asked Jesus, “Will you teach us how to pray?” They asked because what He had was worth having. They wanted in on the pure presence of Almighty God.
Today’s Christians I’m afraid are more like the Pharisees. I think too many Christians want some sort of credit for their righteousness. So, we post on Facebook that we are about to spend time with God. Would Jesus have done that if He had social media back then? I don’t see Him taking a picture of some mountain and posting, “Going to spend some time with My Father,” and then counting up the “likes” later. He just did it, and it was obvious to everyone He encountered that He did it. He had power beyond measure.
Power is something that our churches lack. Preachers have perfected the act of preaching, worship leaders have perfected the act of leading worship, Christians have perfected the act of attending church and posting religious activity and religious materials on social media. But, when it comes down to it, do you spend unencumbered time with your Heavenly Father? I mean nobody but you and Him. If our church leaders are hardly doing it, then I would imagine that the overwhelming majority of church people don’t do it at all.
I recently read Matthew 6:1 where it said for us to “be careful to not do our righteous acts before men.” I got convicted about even sending out these WMDs. I don’t get to count writing these as time with God . . . they must come from my alone time with God. If I write simply from learned knowledge and not out of my love for God, I am nothing but a clanging cymbal. If I post these without having actually been alone with God, then I’m nothing more than a religious Pharisee doing his acts of righteousness before men. That is terrifying to me!
I say all that to say this: If we want the real deal power to return to our churches and even our everyday lives, spending alone time with God is the key to that power. Even Jesus was not exempt. If you are in a position of leadership in the church, and you do not get alone with God, it does not matter how talented or charismatic you are . . . you are powerless and useless for the kingdom.
Lord, I’m guilty, guilty, guilty! I’ve done it before. I’ve looked the part outwardly, but inwardly I knew the Holy Spirit tank was on empty because I haven’t been with You. There is nothing on this Earth that compares to getting to a quiet place and being with You. You are the greatest thing this life offers. Help me to hunger and thirst for righteousness so that I may be filled. Help all who read this to do likewise. Make Christians powerful again. Make it so that we are attractive to a lost and dying world again. May unbelievers and lukewarm Christians want what we have because what we have is really worth having. Fill us up with You, Lord!