by Bill Frisbie, Elijah House Spiritual Director
The other day Sue and I were praying together about something going on in the nation, and we felt Jesus say, “Stay close to Me.”
Those were His words of comfort to us when we were feeling a little overwhelmed. All of us need those words this Christmas season—the invitation to stay close to Jesus.
Staying close to Jesus is not a religious formula. Nobody can tell you, “This is how to do it every time. Follow these rules, and you’ll be good.” No. Jesus comes in a signature way to each of us. Chances are, He has spent years teaching you what His presence feels like and the special way He invites you to meet with Him. All of us have a unique way of knowing He is right here with us, in the moment.*
That being said, there are two general ways we can practice staying close to Jesus:
- When we start to feel His presence at “random” times, we can stop what we are doing and spend time with Him.
- We can be intentional about meeting with Him on a regular basis. (Again, this looks different for every person.)
When He Shows Up at Random Times
One morning I walked into the living room, and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was playing on the stereo.
How many times have I heard that song? And yet this time, I immediately became aware of His presence. It just came and rested on me.
I had a number of things I needed to get done that morning, or thought I did, but I realized in the moment there was nothing more important for me than just to pause my schedule so I could spend time worshipping Him.
When He comes near and we become aware of His closeness, it is good to give room to Him—to go with His flow and just let His presence roll over us. Yes, our schedule gets interrupted, but any schedule we could possibly have is actually His schedule. Our life is not our own; we were bought at a price, and we are here for Him, not just so we can get things done.
One way we can stay close to Him is by giving ourselves to those moments when He just wants to be with us. Let the Spirit wash over you, and let love for Him rise up and blaze in your heart.
When We Are Intentional
Sometimes the Lord shows up and surprises us with His presence. Most of the time, however, we stay close to Jesus by being intentional. We can focus our thoughts on Him, spend time reading and thinking about His Word, listen for the Holy Spirit, pray, worship, etc.
Being intentional with God takes discipline, but the result of being intentional is Luke 10:22:
All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (NKJV)
Jesus was basically saying, “There is only one way to know My Dad. As you draw near to Me, I will show you who He is. I will reveal Him to you.”
Around this time of year, people talk about “Father Christmas,” but the One we are talking about is Father God, who gives good gifts to His children. I like how Paul describes Him in Ephesians: exceedingly, abundantly above. There really is no word to capture the limitless Person of the Father, and that is what He holds in reserve for us as we stay close to Jesus.
Particularly this Christmas season, when common sense seems to be thrown out the window, we need to stay close to Jesus. That is the answer. When we are worried, frustrated, waiting for things to change—Jesus is saying, “Stay close to Me.” Those are His words of comfort.
It will be okay. Our nation will be okay, and we will be okay as His kids. We are the individual building blocks of what He is doing in this nation—and He is doing exceedingly, abundantly beyond what we could think of or imagine. That is who He is as the Father.
*If you are going through a dark night of the soul, where you haven’t felt or heard from the Lord in a while, we want to encourage you! You are so dearly loved, and you are going to get through this time and emerge joyfully on the other side.