Jesus had had a full evening. After sunset, the sick and demon possessed – in fact the whole city – had come to the door of Peter’s house. He healed many who were sick and cast out many demons.
But the next morning, He was not found sleeping in. Rather, He got up early in the morning…a long while before it was daylight…before the events of the day started. He departed to a solitary place…away from where distractions could occur.
And there He prayed.
He spent time with God.
Meanwhile, back in Capernaum what are the disciples of Jesus doing? Had they gotten up early in the morning to spend time with God? Had they went off to a solitary place that would be free of distractions?
No, they hadn’t.
Mark 1:36, 37 records that they were searching for Jesus, because everyone was looking for Him as well. I am not sure exactly what happened, but these verses seem to infer that the disciples saw everyone looking for Jesus…maybe there were people already gathering outside of Peter’s house. Seeing all these people, the disciples began to look for Jesus. When they couldn’t find Him in the house, they expanded their search. When they finally found Jesus, their question to Him was not ask Him what the plan was for that day.
Rather, it was to inform Jesus that “everyone is looking for You”. In the disciples’ mind, the crowds gathering outside, waiting for Jesus were the ones who had already determined how Jesus and the disciples and Jesus were going to be spending their day.
But, that was not the case.
Jesus told them, “Let us go to the next towns that I may preach there also because for this purpose I have come.” (Mark 1:38)
As I have been reflecting on these verses, I am again reminded of the importance of spending time with God in a solitary place that is removed from the distractions so that I can the right direction for my day.
If I don’t, the challenges and the events of my day end up being what directs my focus and my steps…
Instead of God.
And if all the items that are planned into my day end up being what directs my steps, I find that I step into the day with either an “I can do this” attitude by which I “force” my way through the day or an overwhelmed feeling of “how can I do this?” attitude.
Not only that, if I don’t spend time with God, and there is a course change that He is directing me to take, I can easily miss His redirection.
On the other hand, when I start the day with God, getting up early to spend time with Him in a solitary place, away from distractions…I am fortified in Him, and armed with His strength, wisdom and peace I can carry out the day’s activities with an attitude of joy.
As well, when I spend time with God in the morning, He often prepares me for a course change that may be around the corner…
Even though I may not know it.
Yesterday, after doing devotions and dwelling on the truth that when Jesus called Peter to walk on the water, the challenge was not that Peter didn’t know how to walk. He already could do that easily. The challenge for Peter was to take what he already had the ability to do, and complete this in a new setting…
This reminded me there will be times in my life that the path God sets before me will require that I take that which He has already taught me how to do, and then do this in a completely new setting or environment.
And surprise, surprise!
Within minutes of completing devotions, I received a call that required me to do just this.
I sat there for a couple of minutes thinking “I can’t do this…I have never done this before…I am not trained to do this.” And then quick on the heels of these thoughts came the quiet voice of God’s Spirit reminding me of the truths He had just affirmed to me in my quiet time with Him.
The task set before me required that I take a gift He had already given me and taught me how to use, and use this task in a new setting.
As I set my mind to do the steps God had set before me, I knew His peace as I tried to figure a plan of action to accomplish this next task. After I had been working for about an hour, my mind became distracted as a surge of fear and the feeling that I couldn’t do this flooded my mind. I had to stop and to take a couple of minutes and just pray…presenting my requests to Him, acknowledging that since He called me to do this, I was going to rely on Him to supply what I needed to complete this task, and then asking Him to guard my mind with His peace to fear couldn’t get a foothold.
And I am so thankful that His peace did garrison my mind! It took most of the day, but by late afternoon the task was finally completed:D
When I spend time with God in the morning, enables me to not become distracted and misdirected by those things which seem most pressing. My steps will not be directed by the day’s challenges that seem most pressing. Rather, they will be directed by God Himself. When my steps are directed by God, I can take on and complete the day’s tasks with an attitude of joy because I am armed with His wisdom, strength and peace. As well, if there is a course change that He has planned for me, it is often in these times of quiet that He will equip me with what I need to face the change so that I am prepared when it arrives on my doorstep.
In short, spending time with God ensures that He is the One directing my steps…
And not distractions!