by Mary Somerville
Last month the point was made that we must have a vital connection to Jesus Christ, in order to bear up under the emotional and spiritual burden we must live with as pastors' wives. Today we ask: How do we nurture that oneness with Jesus Christ? What does it look like in daily practice to be prizing Christ above all else and abiding in Him?
Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7). His words are important for us to listen to and obey.
So that we can better grasp the importance of this, we need to look at the account where Jesus took three of His beloved disciples up to a mountain to pray. While Jesus was praying, His glory became unveiled and His clothing became white and gleaming. Moses and Elijah came to speak with Him about His impending death. After falling asleep during the prayer time, the disciples awoke to see Jesus' glory and the two men with Him. When the men were leaving, Peter said to Jesus, "Let's make three tabernacles" (Luke 9:33). He wanted to do something great. What happened? "And while he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!'"
It was more important to listen to Jesus than to build something. It is the most important thing in our lives—more important than what we accomplish for Him. Out of that intimacy with Him may come things for Him, but it is more important to hear God's voice and obey Him than to do great things for Him. I need to constantly keep that in mind because I tend to be like Peter—"let's do something." Because of our busy lives it is imperative that we spend time with our Lord in reading and meditating on His Word so we don't grow cold and weary in well doing.
It may take some real planning to find time alone to spend with the Lord—time away from the pressures of life and ministry. We all need some time to be still so we can hear His voice through His Word.
Journaling is the primary way I have sought to hear His voice and sustain my walk with Christ. Over twenty years ago I began keeping a quiet-time journal and I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it has been in my life.
To begin my time in the Word, I pray the prayer offered by the author of Psalm 119—the longest chapter in the Bible exalting God's Word: "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Thy law" (v.18). Since God is the ultimate author, He can open our eyes to the meaning and application of His precious Word to our lives.
I read consecutively and record a "wonderful thing" each day in my journal. I also seek to respond to what I have read by writing a prayer praising God and asking Him to work in accordance with what I have read—to change me more into the likeness of Christ. For instance, my response to the passage about the Transfiguration of Jesus might be: "Lord, You're awesome! Jesus, You are greater than Moses and Elijah. In you the Law and the prophets are fulfilled. You are the Word made flesh. Oh, to get a glimpse of Your glory! I pray that you will help me to constantly listen to You and to obey Your voice today."
My husband also journals and we often begin our day by sharing our "wonderful things" with each other. It is our spiritual food. It keeps us alive and growing spiritually. It keeps our relationship with Christ fresh. There is no substitute for God's Word.
I hope you, too, have a plan for getting into God's unfailingly true Word each day. It is the surest way to truly build your relationship with Christ.