The Bible tells us that our God is a jealous God (Deu 4: 23, 24; Exodus 20:4,5). But His jealousy is exactly the opposite of the world’s perception of jealousy. Worldly jealousy calls for envy, resentment and bitterness. But God’s jealousy speaks of love, concern and protection. God’s jealousy says: You are so precious and of great worth to Me. And I love you so much that My heart breaks when I see your heart break. My heart grieves to see you settle for something that is not My best.
James 4:5 (MSG) says: “He’s a fiercely jealous lover, and what He gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find.”
That’s why God hates idols. Now anything that captures our hearts in the place of God is an idol. And anything the captures our time, captures our heart!
If we say we love Jesus, but don’t spend time with Him, something is wrong. Here are three ‘gods’ we are spending time with most in each 24-hour cycle.
“How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? (Proverbs 6:9).
I cannot even begin to count how many times I have missed my sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit because I was too tired and wanted to sleep. We reason, “God, understands how tired I am.” Yes, He understands. And that’s why He wants us to spend time with Him so we get renewed in our strength.
If we look at the life of Jesus, He was the busiest preacher, always surrounded by people. But He figured out a time to spend with His father when no one could disturb Him. “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (Mark 1:35). It is this time that renewed Him and gave Him direction for His day.
Here’s one thing we can strive to do: Rise up early. Flee from the bed. Before the world starts to speak into our ears, let us get up early and surrender our ears to the Lord. Let us master our sleep, and do not let it master us.
Much of our time goes to eating or worrying about what we should be cooking or eating. In fact if we are hungry we can’t even think properly and suddenly we find ourselves angry and irritable. This shows how much we have yielded ourselves to the flesh.
It was for food that Esau lost his birthright. It was for food that the Israelites started grumbling soon after they were out from Egypt. “…There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3).
The Bible says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but a steady stream of words from God’s mouth” (Deuteronomy 8:3). I wonder when was the last time we fasted. Many Christians think that we should fast so God can be impressed. But we don’t fast for God; we fast for ourselves. In fasting as we yield our flesh to Him, our spirit man becomes stronger and more sensitive to His Spirit. Ironically only the hungry will fast! If Jesus being God, felt a need to fast, how much more should we.
Fasting also brings direction, and prepares us for the battle that lies ahead. The Bible says that after fasting 40 days and 40 nights , Jesus was hungry and the tempter came to Him. (Matthew 4:2,3) Note, fasting didn’t make Jesus vulnerable for the devil to test him. in fact Jesus prepared for the test by fasting! That’s so enlightening!
The third god that consumes the majority of our time has to be our ‘Phone’.
It has made us so dependent because it caters to most of our needs – calls, texts, camera, video – and even the Bible!
We are so particular to charge our phone daily, and we don’t care when for weeks and months together our spiritual battery is down. We are worried about our wifi connectivity and we don’t bother about how weak our connection with the Holy Spirit is.
I like how Joyce Meyer puts it: You are not the most important person in the world. So you don’t have to check your phone every few minutes. It’s ok to keep your inbox unattended. It’s ok if you don’t get to check your social media to see who is talking about what. It’s ok to leave your phone intentionally when you go out. It’s time we switch off to the world and switch on to God.
Avoid the desire to touch your phone first thing in the morning and last thing in the night. Be intentional about carrying your physical Bible to church and in times of meditation. Delete your games or apps that are making you addicted.
As athletes running in the race to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ, we need to invest into making good spiritual habits. As they say, “Habits eat willpower for breakfast.”
Let me conclude with the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9: 26: “I don’t know about you, but I am running bar for the finish line. I am giving it everything I got. No sloppy living for me! I m staying alert and in top condition. I am not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing it myself.”
This article was written by Kim D’Souza who, together with her husband Derrick, is the founder of Pursue Him International, a ministry to raise Jesus lovers who are in pursuit of Him for who He is. Kim’s calling is to encourage and edify believers through both the written and spoken word. She is an author and an avid blogger, read her blogs at : www.pursuehim.net/blog