Do you feel like you have too much to do every day, and yet you feel so far from what you want to do? You feel exhausted but still feel like you aren’t doing enough? We often are so consumed with everywhere we should be that we lose where we are now.
Today’s post will look at some foundational priorities Jesus held in his life which kept him emotionally healthy and moving towards God’s call on his life.
I just turned 30 and, to be honest, this is the first time I have ever felt bummed about my age. People older than myself laugh and say, “You are so young!” Then the youth students I pastor say, “You are so old!”
Reflecting on the past few months, I realized that the closer I approached 30, the more I picked up some bad habits. Workaholism and busyness subconsciously crept into my life. To do more in life (or catch up to where I thought I should be), I filled my schedule with stuff to do. Slowly but surely, I found myself spending less time with God.
I didn’t understand why I was doing more than ever and yet felt more distant from God, even like I was accomplishing less in life.
It was because I forgot my priorities.
God, in his goodness, tapped me on the shoulder one day and reminded me of a verse:
Song of Solomon 2:15 “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!”
It isn’t the massive things in life that ruin the “vineyard” of your relationship with God. It is the thousands of little things, those little foxes, that get under the fence that protects our relationship with God and eat away at our connection with him.
So, though I am now 30, I went back to the basics, searching for the habits of Jesus that kept him connected to the Father and moving forward in his calling.
1. Live in the Father’s House
Jesus’ family went on vacation to Jerusalem when he was young. They made it halfway home when Mary turned to her husband and asked, “Where is Jesus?”
“I thought he was with you?” Joseph responded.
Panic filled them, just like it would any parent.
Luke 2:46-49 “After three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?'”
This is the first habit we see in Jesus’ life: Living in the Father’s house.
“I have to spend time with the Father” is always Jesus’ theme. Before work. Before spouse and kids. Before ministry. Before social life or social media. The number-one priority and habit that will sustain us in life is making time to be in the Father’s house.
Will it make people anxious? Yes. Even Jesus’ beloved parents were anxious. People get anxious when they are not where they think they should be in their lives.
But even the anxiety of Jesus’ loved ones did not stop him. He left to go be with his Father first, before anything else.
Do you want to get your life back? Make the Father number one.
2. Withdraw and Restore
Luke 5: 15, “But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases, But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”
Jesus goes into a town, and everyone seeks him so they can get healed. There are sick people everywhere — people who need an encounter with Jesus — and yet what does he do? He leaves and goes away alone to pray.
I can imagine what his disciples and others are saying: “But Jesus! They need you right now!”
If 100 percent of people I prayed for got healed, and revival was breaking out in a city, I sure wouldn’t leave! Yet Jesus did. Why? Because his soul needed God more than he needed revival.
Jesus surprisingly doesn’t seem manipulated by the needs of others, even drastic emergency needs like healings.
Jesus shows a habit of withdrawing. He had no FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) whatsoever. No matter what was going on or how many people needed him at that moment, he still got up and left to go fill up his soul.
The truth is that something will always need us. School, work, family drama — so many things demand our attention right now. We think, “God will understand if I miss a day in the Word. I’ll pray and connect with him later.”
I am learning that the issue is not that God doesn’t understand but rather that my soul doesn’t understand. God is not mad, angry, or disappointed when we miss a day connecting with him. It is not God who suffers but us.
The soul doesn’t feel better because the mind came up with an excellent excuse for not connecting with God. All the soul knows is that it is thirsty and hasn’t drank from the Father in a while.
Psalms 84: 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Jesus knew when his soul was feeling depleted, and nothing was more important in those moments than connecting with God once again.
“But God, they need me!” is an excuse I too often would hear from my own lips about my own life. “But your soul needs me,” is God’s response.
Make a habit of unplugging from the world and going away to be with God.
The habit of withdrawing into God’s restoration will allow for a lifetime of connection with God and greater impact on this world for him.
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3. Worship and the Word
Luke 4: 16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the Synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.
This verse tells us that one of Jesus’ habits was going to the synagogue. In the synagogue, they would worship, pray, and read Scripture.
Jesus knows he only has three years to minister to people and change the world. If you knew you only had three years to get your lifesaving message out, what would you do? Jesus still takes time to regularly go to church, worship God, and read the Bible.
This tells me if worship, Scripture, and church were a habit of Jesus, I desperately need to keep them a habit of mine, as well.
Didn’t God write the Bible? Why would Jesus need to study it? Yet he even made a habit of reading them regularly. This tells me that, even if I have read a Bible story 100 times, there is still more for me to get out of it the 101st time.
I’ve learned to stop before reading Scripture, pause, and ask God to speak to my heart as I read. I ask for hunger for his Word. I ask that he would give me a new revelation. On the days I do this, I almost always discover something new.
This is a habit we must regularly form if we want to stay fresh with God and to move forward with his calling on life. We must regularly be in worship and the Word.
4. Disengage from the Drama
Luke 4:29-30 They got up, drove Him out of the town, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him over the cliff. But Jesus passed through the crowd and went on His way.
Once again, Jesus’ ability to intentionally disengage in certain moments is astounding.
People are angry! They’re yelling, ready to throw him off of a cliff!
If I were Jesus, I would try to put out drama’s fires. I would try to get everyone to be OK again. But what does Jesus do? He walks right through the crowd and goes on his way. Their anger didn’t get into him. He goes on with his day!
Jesus has this habit of not letting other people get under his skin. He doesn’t let the drama of the world get into him.
Nothing will distract you from what God is calling you to do more than others’ drama and opinions. But Jesus does not engage. He does not try to prove himself. He leaves the conversation.
When people want to argue about politics, go on your way.
When people want to fight about views on COVID, go on your way.
When people expect you to defend yourself, just go on your way.
When people attack over social media, don’t engage. Go on your way.
No one can ruin your day. You get to choose what consumes your day (or not). We must be able to build the habit of going on our way, leaving all the dust that gets stirred up and focus on what you are called to do.
This habit will keep our hearts from offense and distraction.
As I turn 30, I am reminded of these four habits of Christ. He always fought for alone time with the Father. He withdrew to restore his heart. He always stayed in worship and the Word, and he would disengage from the drama and stayed focused on what he was called to do.
And Jesus was only 30 when he did this! That means you and I can do this, as well.
What other habits do you see?
I know there are many more habits of Jesus that would be great to learn and practice! What ones do you see in his life?
Hit Comment and let me know!