When asked what is the first (chief/primary/foremast) commandment, Jesus answered:
- Mark 12:29-30 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Loving God with all that you are is not a part-time endeavor. Following Jesus is not a hobby or short term commitment. Christianity is not about pretending to be something you aren’t (that is hypocrisy). A relationship with Jesus Christ requires surrendering all that you are and taking the time to become all He intends you to be. It takes time to live a life the honors the Lord.
Take Time to Pray
- Luke 5:12-16 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.” 15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
- The more miracles Jesus performed, the more those in need sought Him out (see also Luke 9:11). Although He was very busy doing the work His Father sent Him to do, Jesus made time for prayer. Ongoing prayer is a very important part of our walk with the Lord (Matthew 6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17). It takes time for meaningful prayer!
Take Time to Obey
- Luke 6:46-49 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
- Obedience is a key factor in our relationship with God (1 Samuel 15:22, John 14:15). God has given us a lot to do – the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), shining as lights in a dark world (Matthew 5:16), and so much more. It takes time to build a life of obedience!
Take Time to Praise
- Luke 10:17-21 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather[f] rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
- Jesus rejoiced in the blessings of the Father. Heartfelt praise for the Lord in response to the goodness and perfection of His ways bring glory to Him and bring us closer to Him. Bless the Lord with all that you are (Psalm 103:1-2). It takes time to rejoice in praise for all the good that God does!
Take Time to Listen
- Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
- There is always much good work to be done. But we must take time to listen to the Lord. God speaks to us through His Word, His Holy Spirit, His church, the Godly wisdom of other Christians, circumstances, discipline, and many other ways (Hebrews 1:1-2, Hebrews 12:5). It takes time to discern what God is saying to us!
Take Time to Count the Costs
- Luke 14:27-33 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
- Following Jesus is the greatest purpose for any life. But there are costs; there must be change (Mark 8:35, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Opposition from Satan and the fallen world are promised for those who surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus (Ephesians 6:11, John 15:18). And although we are made perfectly righteous and complete before God when we accept Christ’s gift of salvation, it takes time to become in practice who we are in position (Hebrews 10:14, Philippians 1:6). It takes time to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Take time to understand, appreciate, enjoy, embrace, embody and share who you are in Jesus.
As a Christian, you are part of something special, Christ’s church. Anything you lost or left behind has been replaced with better and eternal blessings.
- Luke 18:29-30 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Taking time for and with God is an act of discipline and an exercise in patience.
- Discipline – Intentionally and regularly setting aside time for those things that exemplify a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Patience – Faithfully anticipating those times yet to come when you will realize the fulfillment of God’s purposes and promises.
Take time to love God with all that you are!!!
Eternal Heavenly Father, I pray that You will give Your children the faith, wisdom, power, strength, patience, endurance, courage and hope needed to live a life that honors You. Guide and teach us, protect and comfort us, enable and encourage us as we take time for You. I praise You for Your faithfulness. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.