Last week, I asked a question, “What is the one thing that is to be our singular focus?“. That question was prompted by Jesus’ words to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:2-5.
I know your deeds and your toil, and your patient endurance, and that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles (special messengers, personally chosen representative, of Christ), and [in fact] are not, and have found them to be liars and impostors; and [I know that] you [who believe] are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and that you have not grown weary [of being faithful to the truth]. But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self – your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior – seek God’s will and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; …
These words stun me whenever I read them, and they cause me to shrink back in examination. The church at Ephesus was doing so many things that Jesus could commend them for, and yet … they had drifted away from their love of Jesus. I don’t want to do that, and I know that you don’t either.
So, the answer to my question, for me, is to love Jesus. As I was spending some extended time in Psalm 27 last Saturday, I came to verse 4 that really captured for me what I desire, and apparently David did, too:
One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.
My next question, then, is how do I do this? I do not think this is spending all my day sitting with my Bible in my hand. There is the reality of daily life to be lived. And yet, I want to live my daily life in the presence of the Lord, gazing upon His beauty. I think some of these practices may help turn my heart back to Him:
- Abide in Him as He describes in John 15. He says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. This means living in His Word – reading it, meditating on it, applying it to our lives, talking to Him about it, confessing when we’re have difficulty applying it, asking for His help, thanking Him when He helps us. Think about Jesus in the garden at Gethsemane as He struggled before His Father to accomplish the most important work of His life. He was living what He said, and providing for us a model of dependence and abiding.
- Ask God to open our eyes to the wonder of Himself, in large and small ways. His creation declares His majesty – the stars, trees, the oceans and streams, mountains, flowers, birds and butterflies, people. It is so very easy to stay withing the walls of a building, focused on our multiple devices and activities, rather than to walk outside to enjoy God’s vast creation.
- Thank Him and express gratitude to Him for salvation, for beauty, for relationship with Him and for relationship with our brothers and sisters in Him.
- Live life, humanly, out of His image, with His help. We are created in His image; though fallen, it is being redeemed in us because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Create beauty, think and live well. Work to allow Jesus to shape your heart, your desires, your thoughts, your world-view.
Geoff and Chelsea captured this same thought in their meditation and prayer song on Psalm 84 recently. I’d like to end by sharing it with you.
Be blessed in these days as you dwell in the house of the Lord.
What helps you to stay focused on abiding in Jesus?