Set Apart

Do you ever examine your life? What you do? How you speak to people? Who you pay attention to? Do you set time aside for the simple purpose of just being in the quiet, examining yourself, and listening to anything God might be saying to you? I have been doing this when I am able for some time. Sometimes it takes place in my office at home. Another good place for me is in the amazing North Dakota Badlands or in my kayak on the lake. In a world that is so populated with social media, commercials, billboards, and kids, it can be difficult to find a place to really get alone with God and just be quiet before him and listen. For every person the place and mood will likely be a bit different. There’s that time right before communion when you’re surrounded with others, with kids in the pews, with small sounds. You’re told to be quiet before God and look deeply into your heart and examine yourself. All the while trying to keep your own children from making a scene. And then there’s the obvious obligation to keep an eye on those guys coming around with the pretty silver trays with the grape juice/wine and that little piece of bread.

My point is it’s difficult for us, during this point in history, to really find time and place to come before God and ask, “Search me oh God”. Despite the level of difficulty the 21st century offers for this, we are obligated to do this. We can get to busy with job, family, church, play, and many other things to actually observe ourselves in a deep and real way. And, not only is it hard to find a good place and time for this, it’s also not natural for us to use the correct criteria.

Often when I’m spending time alone with God I look at my life now as it compares to my life a month ago or a year ago. I look at the changes God has made, the victories he’s seen me through, the hills and mountains ahead. And while this is all good to do. It is very good for us to remember where we were; from what God has brought us and saved us.

Here’s the million dollar question. Are you ready? Do you compare your life right now to the life that Jesus lived during his time on Earth? Part of his purpose for 33 years spent here is to be the model for how we, his followers, should live. “But Jesus was perfect.” “There’s no way I can match up with that.” True. But I just wanted to quickly write and challenge you to observe the life of Jesus. Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and learn the everyday things Jesus did. What were his concerns? Who did he spend time with? What made him angry? Happy? Sad? What are his priorities? Study his everyday life. Jesus tells us that if we love him we’ll do the works he’s doing. He tells us that if we love him we’ll obey his commands, make disciples, baptize people, and preach the Gospel to the world. “But baptize people??” Yes! Jesus commands, expects, and wants so very much more for his followers than we typically believe. Making disciples isn’t for the learned, the Bible scholars, the pastors, and elders alone! It’s expected that all of us will be “about our Father’s business”. If you’re not, then quite simply, you’re not obeying Jesus.

What would be different about your life every day if you did what Jesus did? What would look different? What do you already do that mirrors his life on Earth? What habit or priority stands in your way from living like Christ? Do you have other things you worship from time to time or habitually that keep you from obeying his commands and passing on his teaching?

What would happen in Dickinson, or in whichever city you live, if you did this?

What could be possible if you put all the other books aside and just read the four Gospels until you REALLY know what the life of Jesus looked like?

What would happen if we all took the words of Jesus literally?

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