The purpose of calling a retreat during battle has always been to pull back from the advancement of the enemy, when you feel that your side may be losing ground. Falling back to “home base” gives you time to refresh and regroup your forces, and reassess your battle plan before charging back out to the battlefield.
In our everyday, civilian lives we rarely take time out of the frantic pace of our own battlefield and pull back. Something deep within us seems to keep us pressing forward, firing our weapons, and expecting the smoke to clear and finally enjoy the spoils of our victory.
We so easily get caught up in our work, our hobbies and even our ministry that we seldom pull off the road to ask ourselves the hard questions – like “how am I really doing?” – “am I being a the husband God has called me to be?” – “do my kids know how much I love them?” – “am I making progress in my relationship with Christ?”
The noise and anxieties of our life keep us so distracted and occupied that we tell ourselves we don’t have to spend with God, and those who matter most in our life. That’s why retreats are such a blessing. We finally slip off and find some time to turn down the volume, and actually enjoy the silence of the natural surroundings. It is the perfect place to “be still and know that He is God”. Even though God is always present, and always speaking, we seldom slow down enough to turn our face toward Him and listen.
Moses chose to “turn aside” to see why the bush was burning, and then God spoke to him. We have to make a deliberate choice, every day, to turn our face toward God and engage Him in conversation. Since prayer is a dialogue, and not a monologue, it is not about us giving God a to-do list of prayer requests as we drive to the office.
At our worship retreat yesterday, we were given four hours (yes, four) to get alone with the most affectionate, patient, powerful, kind, wise, creative, joyful, faithful Father in the universe – and engage Him. What does He want to say? Where is He leading me? What does He want for my life?
The next couple of posts will allow me to download some thoughts….
Am I being careful in my life, and walk with God?
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
1 Peter 5:8-9a
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith,
But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Do I charge through life without giving serious thought about the spiritual war raging around me? Am I a deliberate Christ-follower, husband or father – or just go through the motions and hope everything will just work out well? Do I he choosing to put on the armor of God each morning and engage the true enemy of God, and my life? Are my senses being trained to discern good from evil?
God spoke to me, and several others, that He desires us to become more deliberate in our life with Him. If I sow sparingly, I will reap sparingly. If I don’t abide in “the vine” (Jesus), I shouldn’t expect any good and lasting fruit in my life, marriage and children. If I don’t stay close enough to my Shepherd (Jesus) to hear His voice, and follow Him, I will be more apt to wander off and fall into danger.
Jesus said he “could do nothing” on His own, but only what He saw and heard the Father doing. If He couldn’t do anything in His own power – who are we to think we can?
We will choose to live each day of our life with either our back toward God, or our face. We get to choose whether or not we will draw near to Him, hear His voice and/or follow Him.
What will it be?