Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Every once in a while, my wife and I get to choose what we do with an evening. That's kind of rare because of our ministry responsibilities and being involved with the needs of a lot of people. But the other night was one of those nights to choose - we could be with some friends, someone suggested going to a movie. We decided just to stay home and talk. There are really three problems with a movie theater: the junk on the floor (I think it's called cinemuk), the junk that's often on the screen, and the fact that we can't talk with each other. Now a lot of couples are together more than we are - watching TV, going to social events, following the kids' schedules. And those things are all okay, but if that's all the time a couple has together, they may be missing what really keeps a relationship alive, including the ultimate relationship.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Around, But Not With."
There's something I've learned over the years from my relationship with my wife. It's easy to be around someone but not with him or her - like a couple watching a movie or TV. When you're just around someone, there's no real dialog, no real exchange, no real transaction, no real difference. I've done that with my Lord far too many times. Maybe you have, too.
In our word for today from the Word of God in John 8:38, Jesus talks about the source of His poise and power. As you read the Gospels, you feel this powerful sense of authority in Jesus' personality. He tells us where that kind of personal authority comes from. "I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence." Jesus says, "Whatever you see in Me comes from my being with My Father."
Now He was referring, no doubt, to His pre-Bethlehem existence as the Son of God with the Father. But we also know the way Jesus started every day on earth. The disciples would wake up, rub their eyes, and look around for their leader. At first, they asked, "Hey, where did Jesus go?" After a while, they knew. He had slipped away to begin His day in His Father's presence. That's where each day should begin. That's where they did begin at the dawn of time, as Adam walked with God.
But it's so easy to substitute being around the Lord for really being with the Lord. You can be around Jesus by being in His building, in His book, in His work, in His meetings, with His people. But being "in the Father's presence" like Jesus said, means you get in touch. You open up your heart with its deepest hurts, hopes, worries and joys. Then you listen for His response through that inner voice of the Holy Spirit.
Then there are transactions with the Lord during a time when you're with Him. Transactions where you consciously, specifically, maybe painfully, surrender something or someone to Him. You focus on the Lord exclusively and you just let His majesty happen to you.
The result? Well, you leave that room with a brand new perspective on the people and situations and decisions you're dealing with - it's God's perspective now. Like Jesus, you will be telling what you "have seen in the Father's presence." There should be no higher priority in your personal schedule than to experience your Father's presence at the beginning of each new day. Being around your Lord isn't being with your Lord - and He is so great to be with! Don't you miss Him? Well, He misses you.