Activated

Living with the Rose

The secret of a closer relationship with Jesus

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A Persian fable says, one day
A wanderer found a piece of clay
So redolent of sweet perfume,
Its odor scented all the room.
“What are thou?” was the quick demand.
“Art thou some gem of Samarkand,
Or spikenard rare in odd disguise?
Or other costly merchandise?”
“Nay, I am but a piece of clay.”
“Then, whence this wondrous sweetness, pray?”
“Friend, if the secret I disclose,
I have been living with the rose.”

Christians are supposed to try to be like Jesus—living as He would, acting as He would, speaking as He would, and even thinking as He would. But how do we accomplish that? How can we be more like Him? As in the Persian fable, it comes from living close to Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Many of us do spend time with the Lord, but how much quality time do we spend with Him, where we shut out the business of the day and give Him our full attention, communing with Him, enjoying Him, and getting to know Him better in order to become more like Him? If we don’t, no matter how many good qualities we possess or how dynamic we are or how dedicated we are, no matter how good we are with people or what else we may have going for us, if we’re not spending time with Jesus, we’re not going to be a very good reflection of Him or His love to others.

The dictionary defines “communion” as “a feeling of emotional or spiritual closeness, a connection.” So communing with Jesus means to make an emotional and spiritual connection with Jesus. Praise, prayer, and reading God’s Word are all ways of making and sustaining that connection. These are the lifeblood of our spiritual lives, the most vital ingredient in our walk with the Lord—prayer, praise, and the Word.

Many of us tend to pick up the pace when our workloads and responsibilities increase, and that leads to more stress. Taking time off and relaxing alone or with family or friends can help relieve the pressure, but friends or family or time alone can’t give us what Jesus can.

Hobbies can also be relaxing and fun, but if we’re not careful, they can actually contribute to the problem by taking time away from the essentials, including the most essential—taking time with the Lord. That’s a common mistake people make—filling every spare moment with more “busyness,” when the Lord wants them to take that time with Him.

The surest way to complete and lasting renewal—in fact, the only way—is to spend time with Jesus. We need His love and strength and wisdom, and the only way we can get those is by spending time with Him.

But carving out time from your daily schedule is no guarantee that you’re going to get closer to the Lord; it’s what you do with that time that counts. You need to get still, empty your mind of the business of the day, and let the Lord fill you with posi­tive, encouraging, strengthening, faith-building thoughts from His recorded and living Word.

Jesus said the requirement for a fruitful life is abiding in Him. “Abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4). “Abiding in Jesus” means staying connected with Him by taking time to read His Word and pray and listen to Him.

It’s easy to let prayer become a formality, but one thing that can help you avoid that is to think of the Lord as the Friend, Counselor, and Lover that He wants to be to you. As someone once said, “The more one loves Jesus, the more he delights to be with Jesus alone. Lovers love to be alone.”

But the Lord won’t force Himself on you. He waits to see how much you are willing to abandon all other distractions in order to put Him first. If you have Him in first place, then you will see and feel His power and help in your life beyond what you ever imagined!

If you’re not already benefiting from the kind of close relationship with Jesus you have read about on the preceding pages, it may be because you haven’t taken that all-important first step—receiving Him into your heart. You can do it right now! He says, “I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20). Simply pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank You for dying for me so I can have eternal life. Please forgive me for every wrong and unloving thing I have ever done, come into my heart, give me Your gift of eternal life, and help me to know You and Your Father’s love. Thank You for hearing and answering this prayer and for being with me always, from this moment on. Amen.

 
 

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