The Bulldog on His Pant Leg

 

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”   Matthew 7:21-23

I never knew you.

 That phrase really struck such a chord with me. How do I make sure that I am known by God? I mean, really known? Jesus isn’t talking to people who didn’t profess to know Him. He’s talking to the people who did. They called Him “Lord.” They did Godly things, like service projects in His name. Some even cast out demons. But somehow, along the way, they missed the whole point, because He said…

He never knew them.

I started thinking about what it means to really know someone. There are a lot of people that I know about. I can read about people on social media. I see familiar faces or hear about certain people in passing. But the way we really know someone is to spend time with them.

I know Skip. He’s my husband. I live with him. We eat meals together. We go places together. I know his strengths, weaknesses, habits, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. I know him better than just about anyone, as he does me.We do life together. We spend quality time together.

Should our relationship with the Lord be any different?

I love being involved in ministry type stuff. I mean, I love it! These past few years the Lord has radically moved in my life. I crave truth more than I ever have before. I love reading His Word and doing Bible studies. I love listening to sermons on podcasts. I love it when opportunities arise where I can minister to others. It’s wonderful. But then a while back, the Lord whispered to my heart, “Rachel, you sure seem to know a lot about Me, but do you think you might want to spend some time with Me?”

I felt like the breath had been knocked out of me. All along I had this access that I wasn’t taking advantage of. Access to not just to know about Him, but to truly know Him.

I was missing the whole point.

The whole point of all the sermons, all the seeking, all the studying, all the ministering is to know Him and be known by Him.

I love DOING things for the Lord, but the DOING can never replace the KNOWING.

 I knew I needed to stop focusing on DO and focus more on BE. I needed to BE in His presence. I needed to make time for Him.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

 That’s why the word I have been focusing on this year is “prayer.” Now I am certainly by no means an authority on prayer. I still have a very long way to go. But I am finding that the best way to learn how to pray is to just pray.

Just pray.

I have a prayer list that I pray through (not every day because sometimes I forget and can be a slacker). I also have some scriptures that I pray over my family throughout the week.

But that still didn’t seem to be enough.

We cannot get to know God on the go or in a hurry. If we want to truly get to know God, we have to carve out time and give God space in our lives. It’s a battle that Satan fights with everything he’s got. He would rather we do anything than pray. You might have heard the saying, “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Slowing down is key. Busyness can distract us from what’s most important–quality time with Him.

Rick Warren says that he knows more about God than anyone else. That really resonated with me. I thought, Wow! That’s a man who spends a lot of time with the Lord. Then I listened to Jim Shaddix preach on sacrificial prayer. He said that finding time for focused prayer is a sacrifice. We have to be willing to give up other things (such as TV, internet, etc.) in order to make time for God.

I wish I was a morning prayer girl, but right now my focused time with the Lord is at night. I go sit in a dark place, either the living room, or if it’s warm and pretty, I go outside. I like the darkness. It’s private. The darkness helps me focus and keeps me from getting distracted. I usually start by just being still for a few moments and remembering Who it is I am going to be speaking to. I praise Him and compliment Him. Then I just talk to the Lord. I tell the Lord about my day–where I went, the conversations I had, the things I did. I might tell Him what I’m learning in His Word. I ask Him for advice about certain situations or people. I pray for people that come to my mind. There are times when I sit there and don’t say much at all. I listen to the thoughts that come to my mind. Sometimes He speaks to my thoughts, other times, I get distracted and drift off into “la la land.” (Yep! Just keeping it real!) I don’t take my phone because it’s a huge distraction for me. I try not to worry about the time.

I look so forward to my time with Him. Sometimes things will happen during the day and I’ll think, I can’t wait to tell the Lord about that later. When I miss a day, it bothers me because I miss Him.

This time with Him is changing my life.

It’s truly a high like I’ve never experienced before. I don’t deserve it. I fall so short of His glory. I’m a screw up. I take two steps forward and three steps back. I don’t live for Him like I should. Honestly, I’m not much count at all for His kingdom. It’s pitiful! But all I can say is this, HE is true to His Word. When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:8). It’s just WHO He is! And It is crazy awesome!

“You have shown me the path of life. You fill me with joy in your presence and eternal pleasures at your right  hand.” Psalm 16:11.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” 1 Peter 1:8

I told Him the other night that I did not want to get to heaven and hear Him say that He never knew me. I don’t want there to be a vague recollection of, “Rachel, um, I remember creating her, but yeh, that’s about it. Never knew her.”

I told the Lord that I want to make sure that I know Him and that He knows me. I want to be like the bulldog on His pant leg that He couldn’t shake off–the persistent widow who kept coming back to Him again and again–the girl who talked His ear off.

As crazy as it sounds, I think that’s exactly what He wants!

And there’s lots of room on His pant leg for more bulldogs. 🙂

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ   Philippians 3:7-10

 

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