Learn how to press pause and enrich your time with God.
BY ELIZABETH ARIEL
His answer surprised me: "Linger." I was already spending a lot time every day in worship, prayer and the Bible - so I hardly expected this answer. What did lingering look like anyway?
I thought back to the days before I was married – when my husband and I were engaged. We did a lot of lingering then! We never wanted to part. So, we would stand outside the house where he was living, well pastmidnight, talking in hushed voices, leaning on the car in the starlight, not wanting to say goodbye. We lingered because of love.
God wanted me to press pause.
Pressing pause applies to worship also – literally. Sometimes, we need to break away from the writer's lyrics and sing a new song or sing in the Spirit. Other times we need to be silent and bask in the presence of Holy Spirit. Worship is not simply something we give to God - it is a time to BE with God in heart-to-heart communion. It is a place where stillness opens the door to intimacy with the Master.
Lingering and listening can transform all of our spiritual
activities from a discipline into a delight.
Mary is a prime example of a lover compelled to linger. She was one of several followers who checked out the empty tomb looking for the Lord. But she was the only one who actually encountered Him there that day. And, she had the honor of being the first one to witness His resurrection. Why? She lingered. Her heart was so broken over not finding His body, which was all she had left of Him, that she wouldn't leave. She stooped at the tomb looking in; she wept; and then she inquired of the "gardener."
God delights in revealing himself to those who seek Him. He promises that those who hunger will be filled. The problem is that we often fill ourselves with "God on the go." We have Bible at breakfast, worship in the car, and prayer as we peel the potatoes. All this is good and part of a healthy Christian life, but if we rarely have that slow, sit-down meal where we are not rushing off to our next task, the relationship will never thrive and revelation will be limited.
Martha was trying to catch a word or two as she listened to Jesus from the kitchen, but Mary dropped all and sat mesmerized at his feet. Mary chose better. As Jesus put it, "One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it – it's the main course, and won't be taken from her." Luke 10:42 (The Message)
Likewise, Peter ditched his duty and jumped in the water – clothes and all – to get to Jesus, who was on the shore. He left his friends to deal with a net bulging with flopping fish. And, it was Peter who had an intimate conversation with Jesus that day.
There is a time for all of life's duties, and doing those duties with a heart of prayer and worship is our call, but without time spent quietly leaning on His chest and listening to His heart, we will miss the greater things. And, if our time with Him is marked by a work mindset - something to be checked off on our daily "To Do" list – we will never experience the fullness of His presence or voice. Jesus is calling us to come and dine.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice
and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person,
and they with me." Revelation 3:20 NIV