During the first week of January, most of us are trying to implement things in our lives that are counter to what we “usually” do. That is, we are trying to begin new habits and change things in our lives that we would like to better. However, as I was reading yesterday morning out of the book of Luke, the thought hit me. It is not the extraordinary things in our lives that shape us and mold the character within, but the usual, day in and day out habits and responsibilities we maintain. Therefore, what we look forward to changing in 2018, should center and focus on things that will instill habits that draw us closer to the Lord and bring Him glory.
What better example do we have than Christ Himself. Immediately after spending 40 days in the wilderness followed by the temptation from Satan, Jesus heads to his hometown.
He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” They were all speaking well of Him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from His mouth, yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Luke 4:16-22
What does Jesus do after spending 40 days in the wilderness and being tempted by Satan? He does what He usually does in His hometown, Jesus goes to the synagogue. Not only does He go to the temple, but part of His usual routine is to read the scripture as is evidenced by the scroll given to Him upon His arrival. As one reads you receive the sense Jesus has been there and done that, yet this time it is different, and the people of the town recognize it. Jesus’ usual habit is now moving into the realm of extraordinary.
This usual habit of going to the synagogue did not begin for Christ as an adult. Instead, it started much earlier. We see Christ’s habit of spending time with God the Father even at the tender age of 12. Remember when Christ’s parents lost Him coming back from celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary finally found Him, where was He? Why in the temple complex of course!! When asked why He had behaved so towards His parents, His response is simply:
“Why were you searching for Me?” He asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He said to them. Then He [Jesus] went back down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. Luke 2:51
Christ’s usual habit was spending time in His Father’s house. He had to be in the presence of His Father. Wouldn’t it be great if that could be said of us this year? What would it look like if our usual, daily routine, had time scheduled to be in our Father’s House and His Word? It is this personal time we spend with God that goes the distance and becomes extraordinary. Making time with the Lord on a daily basis is the most critical thing we can do this year that will overflow into every area of our life and the lives of those around us.
Father God, help us to follow Christ’s example to be found in our Father’s house. Help us to guard and protect our daily time with You so much so that when people search for us, they know to look at the feet of Jesus. Lord, be glorified in our lives this year as You give us the strength to pursue You with our whole heart, mind, soul, and body. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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