Make, Take Time for the Holy One. Take, Make “Every Effort” to do what Leads to Your Peace and Your Mutual Edification. Mark 1:35-39

In the streaming series The Chosen, one episode depicts Jesus returning to a camp where he and his disciples are staying for the night.

It is late, and Jesus has spent the day healing crowds of people.

He stumbles into camp, exhausted from the day’s ministry.

The disciples can only watch him, surprised at how tired he is.

His teaching and healing work must have been exhausting.

Though he was fully God, Jesus was also fully human, so he got tired and needed sleep (see Mark 4:38; John 4:6).

Our narrative reading for today explains that after a long day of teaching and healing, Jesus rose early in the morning to pray.

Jesus needed time to connect with his Father in prayer, resting in his Father’s presence and focusing and resting for a while to then refocus on his purpose.

He had come to do much more than heal people in Capernaum, even though that was clearly important while he was there.

When the disciples went out and found him, he said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Does Jesus ever stop?

Does Jesus have limitless energy to just “keep going and going and going?”

No! Even Jesus needed His rest and time to refresh his physical body and soul.

Jesus too spent considerable time in prayer with his Father, and in the process and short, but extremely intense ministry he remained focused on his purpose.

If this was important to Jesus, it is certainly important for his followers too.

Be sure to spend personal time with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each day!

Mark 1:35-39Amplified Bible

35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him, 37 and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!” 38 He replied, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so I may preach there also; that is why I came [from the Father].” 39 So He went throughout Galilee, preaching [the gospel] in their synagogues and casting out demons.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

“Let us therefore make every effort [possible] to [‘perpetually’ keep right on doing every single day] what leads [us all] to peace and to mutual edification”

But lets us be reasonable with ourselves – what does that phrase mean to Us?

Are we expected to be like the “Energizer Bunny” that can outlast all others.

Are You and I Energizer Bunny Christians?

Or always like the “other bunny” who runs out of battery power far too soon?

We don’t make it easy for new Christians to become engaged with their faith journey because we throw some pretty confusing concepts and ideas at them.

Two of my favorites that are really not intuitive for most people are the idea of the Holy Spirit or simply The Spirit and the concept of “growing in your faith.”

Our evangelical reflex is to strive to simplify the equation by simply telling new Christians to “follow Jesus” which is not necessarily any more helpful.

The real trick is to show them how to engage with the Spirit for the strength to follow Jesus that will facilitate our faith growth.

Easy, right?

No, most lifelong Christians struggle to understand how to live a Christian life, so how can we expect a person new to Christianity understand it any better.

A metaphor to help us understand these concepts and ideas a little better is to “borrow” from Madison Avenue one of its most iconic spokespersons

– the Energizer Bunny.

The Energizer Bunny is powered by Energizer batteries that reputedly are longer lasting than the average battery.

So, the Energizer Bunny continues moving in the direction that it is pointed until its batteries run out of power – if it ever runs out of power.

Has anyone ever seen on those television commercials the Energizer Bunny running out of battery power even ONCE? Does anyone ever change batteries?

It keeps going and going and going… remember.

A new Christian, or any of us mature and maturing Christians for that matter, is trying their hardest, with all available energy, to be the Energizer Bunny.

On Sundays, we ‘preach it,’ set them in motion to follow Jesus by instructing them in worshiping, reading the Bible, serving others, loving our neighbors.

Our batteries are powered by the Spirit which can actually keep our “bunny” moving forever forward and around and drum beating, but our batteries run out because of our human incapacity to sustain anything for a long period of time.

So, we are “making every effort” at “growing in faith” by ‘perpetually’ doing these activities that help us to follow Jesus, propelled by the power of the Spirit.

Again, this ‘perpetual motion Christianity’ is easy, right, because if we are all doing all these things then ‘Holy Spirit empowered’ we should be good forever.

Well, the problem with that supposition is that we are still merely human.

Our capacity to convert the Spirit’s power into action in our lives can cause us to become excessively weary due to our own overexertion, excessive enthusiasm.

Or we will run headlong and head strong directly into adversity which causes us to disconnect from the Spirit because we can fix the problem on our own power.

Sometimes, we just get distracted by those shiny, new indestructible thingies being stored up for us in our heavenly storehouses that appear into our path.

No matter how many times you talk about “consistency in your spiritual life,” realize we are human and inherently, inconsistent creatures.

If we as God’s “chosen” preachers and teachers or Laity are truly worth our salt, we will be encouraging people to be the best ‘faithful’ followers of Jesus they can be, giving them tools to help them be better today than they were yesterday.

Now back to the problem of ‘Energizer Bunny Christianity’ which is what do we do when we will finally let our batteries run out of power – how do we recharge?

I think there are three critical tools that God created so that we can energize our batteries on the fly and help us to be the servants we were created to become.

Like the man Rabbi Jesus intentionally planned for regular “time away from the crowds” Fellowship and intentionally praying and worshiping regularly with a community of other Jesus followers which gives us an energy boost as well as a better understanding of what all this new 2022 Christian ‘stuff’ means for us.

Now, hear me clearly, I am endorsing you to go to church somewhere else with other people; not just listening to Christian satellite music or Spotify or a preset list of “meditative” music or some sermon podcast in the car on your daily work commute. And don’t get me started on the “I can worship God anywhere” folks, which is a whole different – and YES! a very aggravating topic for another day.

I am a very strong advocate and even stronger proponent of ‘living’ in Acts 2:

Acts 2:43-47Amplified Bible

43 A sense of awe was felt by [a]everyone, and many wonders and signs (attesting miracles) were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed [in Jesus as Savior] [b]were together and had all things in common [considering their possessions to belong to the group as a whole]. 45 And they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all [the other believers], as anyone had need. 46 Day after day they met in the temple [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread in various private homes. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, 47 praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.

Striving to be Acts 2 Community – Making Every Effort – to be GOD’S Church;

Actively seek other Jesus followers to go on this journey with you. God created Eve from Adam so Adam would not be alone, and God intends the same for us.

Start or join a small “accountability” fellowship group or a Sunday School class, serve on a prayer team or ‘go forth’ mission team, whatever works best for you.

Go on a Christian Retreat make the effort to engage with people one-on-one,

to find new and insightful answers to old lingering energy draining questions, Koinonia support for making tough decisions, or a mentor to provide guidance.

Intentionally take Sabbath time regularly to rest and relax your brain and body.

God created the concept of Sabbath, which is another one of those complex church ideas, but simply stated its our time to let the Spirit re-energize our batteries so that we are prepared to go [refreshed and refocused] where Jesus asks us to go and [refreshed and refocused] do the things God calls us to do.

Let’s make it a [refreshing] priority to help people find the best place to engage ‘their Sabbath Day‘ keeping it holy, with the Holy Spiri, keep batteries charged.

I truly believe if Christians of any maturity level can help their own people find worship, find other people, and find their Sabbath rest, then they will find Jesus!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Father, I so very much need to spend time with you, just as Jesus did. Lord, lead me, guide me, and give me the strength I need for the work you have planned. Amen.

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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