Friday, 20 April 2012

Did Jesus lead a balanced life?

Really enjoying Doing God's Business by Paul Stevens

'As I read the gospels I am convinced that Jesus did not have a "balanced life" with everything scheduled and poised, as some have proposed. At times he could not eat because of the press of  activity. But Jesus did lead a disciplined life  (my emphasis). He had times of fasting, whole nights given over to prayer, and special times of intercession (Luke 22.32). But most evident is his pattern of engagement and withdrawal-what we might call the 'mixed life'. In John 6.15 we have a brief reference to this practice when people were about to take him by force and make him king. Luke tells us that  "(Jesus) would  withdraw to  deserted places and pray" (Luke 5.16). In Mark 6.45 we have the strange, even shocking words, "he dismissed the crowd." The crowds did not leave him of their own accord. He sent them away, saying, "no" to the sick, guilt-ridden and demon-possessed whilst he want to be alone with the Father. For Christians the need of the world is not the call of God. The call comes from God and we will need to withdraw frequently and regularly from compulsive need-meeting to hear the voice of God.
Crucial to living the 'mixed life' is knowing that we are beloved of God, that God takes delight in us, and that we do not have to do anything to gain God's love and approval....'Jesus played to an audience of one' (the Father). This contrasted with the Pharisees...Many leaders in business, politics and religion, are deeply insecure, and out of that insecurity, they base their leadership on the search for  one of three things: power, intimacy or status. The ultimate solution for this is living in the delight of God (Is 42.1). We will not know this deep within ourselves without reflection, prayer and hearing the word of God.'

Great stuff.
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