At the start of a New Year it’s easy to get swept up in goal achievement and the hurried business of a fresh agenda. But what if we took the opposite approach and slowed down in order to soak in what is most needed, simply Jesus.
The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. Psalm 27:4
Once again, it’s that time of year when we awaken from the holiday season and plan new goals to achieve and conquer. We set the alarm early, renew our gym memberships, forecast our financial goals, our wellness goals, our emotional goals, and on and on the list goes. We recommit age-old promises to ourselves that this year will be different than the last and we put our best self-effort to the test with fresh, new zeal and energy. But what if the goal God has for you is not to rev up but to slow down? What if instead of coming before him with our lists of demands and wants first, we come before him and just be first? What if instead of frantic goal setting and busy rushing, we slow down and simply sit before the one who says, “I am really what you need…”
We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. (Ps. 39:6)
We see Jesus in Luke 10 visiting the home of Martha, a busy and worried woman, rushing around the house, working herself into a frenzy in order to serve her important guests. She is goal oriented and task driven, but she loses focus of the most important priority of the night, worshiping Jesus. When she complains to him that her sister has done nothing to help her he says, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 emphasis mine). Jesus didn’t care if Martha’s to-do list was finished, but he did care that Mary received what she needed: him. And he said that it was, “better”...
What if we decided to be like Mary instead of Martha, seeking the kingdom first above all else? (Matt. 6:33) Perhaps we would set better goals for the year and find that when we sit at his feet we can see more clearly what is really needed anyway. It’s refreshing to know that Jesus isn’t so concerned about the kitchen sink and the overflowing pile of laundry on the floor but more so where our gaze and attention lies. Because this is what we are created for, this is why he made us, this is why the cross was worth it: relationship. He longs to walk with you in the cool of the garden once again just because he enjoys being with you. He longs for you to sit at his feet because he knows this is where you belong, this is where you thrive and grow, this is what’s most important. This is the one thing you really need. And when we behold him, we become like him….(2 Cor. 3:18).
It seems clear in scripture that God gives us permission to make him a priority over all else. So in the quiet and stillness of this wintry new year, will you be like Mary and settle yourself down at his feet, fixing your gaze on the one who knows you better than anyone and calls you wonderfully made? Will you let him wrap you up in a warm blanket of love and adoration? Will you slow down in order to soak in and be found once again in him? May you give yourself permission in this new year, beloved, to just sit and be still in his presence. Allow him your full attention first, all those other things can wait. Place him on the top of your agenda, make him your first priority. Sink into his song over you and rest in his arms because this is the one thing that is truly needed.
Extended Devotional Time:
Take some time to sit before Jesus, put your favorite worship music on and soak in his presence. Here are some songs and questions to help get you started below.
“Full Attention”- Jeremy Riddle
“In the Silence”- Jason Upton
“I will wait”- Jason Upton
“I’m not in a hurry” Will Reagan of United Pursuit
Take a minute to journal out some thoughts from the devotional prompts below…
How might my day change by seeking God’s presence first? What type of impact might this have on my mind, emotions, spirit, body, and vision for 2018?
What would I need to change in my schedule or do differently in order to have that valuable soaking time with the Lord throughout my busy week?
Why is it important for God to have alone time with me?
Abba Father, help me to give you my first and my best this year. I pray that spending time with you would be at the top of my priority list because you are worth it and I am created for your presence. I pray I would be like Mary resting at your feet and like David meditating on your perfections and longing for your presence. I pray that hiding in the secret place with you will be my safe place this year to rest and recalibrate. I pray that I would grow to know you more and fall in love with the sweet fragrance of your presence as I make quality time with you my prerogative. Father, hide me in the shadow of your wings, where deep calls to deep, and speak to me once more.