This is a follow-up to the post two days ago. If you haven't read that one, scroll down to read it first and then come back to this.
I will bring him (a leader) near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:21)
Some translations use the language of "dare to draw near." In this case, it is the holy, bold, desperate audacity of drawing near to the holy God.
Dare to draw near!
Personal devotion to be close to God!
Is this the longing of your heart?
And how much time are you spending in this pursuit?
The Apostle Paul.
If anyone was close enough to God, if anyone had arrived, if anyone had the inside track to closeness to Jesus - surely it was the Apostle Paul. Surely he could coast a bit, power down, lighten up, put things on a comfortable cruise when it came to "relationshi with Jesus."
You can tell the "setup" from a mile away - can't you?
I am a part of a group going through Philippians the last two months. Here is the heart of Paul:
I want to know Christ
and the power of his resurrection
and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death,
and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this,
or have already been made perfect,
but I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers, I do not consider myself
yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal
to win the prize for which God has called me
heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature
should take such a view of things.
Paul is describing the emotional, attitudinal, passionate heart that is devoted to closeness to Christ. Look at what Paul desires and how deeply he desires it. Imagine how much time Paul devoted to this relentless pursuit of Christ and a mature salvation.
"I am so busy today that I will never get everything done unless I spend three hours today in prayer."
Oh that this would be our wisdom also. Our work is so important, our leadership is so strategic, God's Kingdom activity is so precious, the needs are so great, the opportunities are so many - that we will never get it all done and done well - UNLESS WE SPEND HOURS IN THE PURSUIT OF GOD.
For it is this pursuit that establishes in the leader, the heart of God, the wisdom of Christ, the power of the Spirit . . . without which, we will default to our own cleverness, our own skills, our own horses and chariots of activity . . .
Which is, perhaps why, so many Christian leaders are not finishing well.
The road to "purgatory" is apparently paved with good intentions that were never acted upon.
If you need help, drop me a note.
LCI exists to empower leaders for this kind of spiritually formed journey that supports our missional engagements in the world.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
p.s. I realize that I used three men for this illustration. Evelyn Underhill comes to mind for a woman who had this kind of devotion. I just didn't have a readily on my mind thought from her.