Following in the Lord’s ways is the “happy place” I’m looking for. It raises questions in my heart: “Am I following in the Lord’s ways, or am I walking my own way, thinking that it is for the Lord?” So many times I have only thought about the Lord’s whats, and given little thought to the Lord’s ways. I am interested in His teachings, His principles, His commands, but I don’t always pay attention to how Jesus lived. He lived in continual communion with the Father through the Spirit. He often withdrew to lonely places where He prayed (Luke 5:16). This is how He lived and ministered. (The Message version has, “As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.”) He came as a servant. He did not carry out His Father’s directions as a lord or king, but as a servant of all. These are His ways. Am I following in them?
For example, as I return to the description of Jesus and seek to apply it to myself, would someone else say of me, “Alan has often withdrawn to lonely places where he prayed.” Probably more easily now than 10 or 20 years ago. If I were to write that sentence as a reflection of my actual way over the years, how would it read?
- Alan never withdraws to lonely places to pray.
- Alan rarely withdraws to lonely places to pray.
- Alan sometimes withdraws to lonely places to pray.
- Alan occasionally withdraws to lonely places to pray.
Jesus’ way was often. As for how often Jesus withdrew like this, I don’t know. For me, often is taking a day a month away from people places to go instead to lonely places where God and I are alone together.
Am I walking in His way? It is a gift and a privilege. What would keep me from walking in His way?
- A cultural pattern in which aloneness is seen as bad or antisocial?
- A drivenness in ministry in which I believe that the more work I do, the more important I am to God?
- Work time for God that has become more important to me than communion time with God?
- Anxious worry about the many needs that surround me?
- Fear about what God may say to me if I am alone with Him?
What God says to me will always be good news, even if it is hard news to hear in the moment. Fear is often the doorway I must walk through to enter into places of deeper joy, peace and life.
“Happy are they who follow in His ways.” Father, may You enable me to walk this joyful path. Amen.