“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” – Luke i, 35.
The value of a Christian’s solitary devotion can never be over-estimated. The best moments of our life are often the quite moments we spend with God, away from the crowd and limelight.
During his years of public ministry, Jesus was very busy. Hundreds of people flocked to Him to listen to His teachings and to witness His miracles. It was with great difficulty that Jesus and His disciples found time out for themselves. And yet, He never turned away the crowds; neither did he hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign outside his room – if ever he had the luxury of a personal study, that is! In spite of leading such a selfless life, Jesus found more time for private devotions and prayer than any of us.
In the midst of a busy Galilean outreach, one morning, Jesus woke up early. It was the first day of the week, after a busy Sabbath. His disciples were still asleep. He ‘left the house‘ and ‘went away to a secluded place‘ so that he could spend time in prayer. When Peter and his companions woke up, they searched for Jesus. When they found Him, Peter said, “Everyone is looking for you.” (v. 37) Wasn’t that supposed to be good news? After having seen all the miracles He had performed the previous day, the people wanted more!
Jesus, however, replied, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” (v. 38) Jesus’ agenda for each day wasn’t determined by popular demand or by the counsel of His loyal disciples. He wasn’t running a show business! His life and work were always in tune with His Father’s business. He lived one day at a time, according to His Father’s instructions. His strong sense of purpose – ‘for that is what I came for’ – was a result of His communion with the One who sent Him. Therefore, He could accomplish all that He was sent for.
Our lives are short. Yet, God gives us enough time to accomplish all that He wants us to accomplish. We can succeed in life if we avoid the clutter and stay on course. That’s possible only when we fine-tune ourselves everyday in accordance with God’s purposes.
This private exercise will not only benefit us individually but also transform the life of a Christian community. Tozer wrote, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.”