Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. – Mark 6:45-47
I’ve taken a hiatus of late, and that for one main reason – so I thought. I shared with a sister in Christ the reality of the need:
I’m taking a small hiatus at the moment, trying to recalculate what I’m actually trying to accomplish through my blog. It started as something for my own spiritual nourishment and growth, but has now approached being something I’m doing for the sake of others’ praise – a dangerous place for anyone. Jesus warns against that, and I believe I know why. Perhaps I’ll reflect on that soon.
Jesus’ example of withdrawing, spending time with his Father in prayer, and having some alone time offers some encouragement to me as well. He may well have struggled with doing things for the praise of man rather than God. After all, Jesus was tempted in every way as we are – yet without sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15). There are, however, other reasons for people to power down, withdraw, and spend time with the Father in prayer, Bible reading, and meditation. One of those reasons has to do with the shaping of our being, character, heart, and hopes that comes through time spent in the presence of God.
My hiatus had to do with figuring out how to write this blog for the right reasons: was it for my personal spiritual growth, or for the edification of others. Somewhere along the way these two got muddled, and I focused less on spending time with God and more focused on writing something that would garner someone’s attention. A word of praise or appreciation became more important to me than it should have been. Jesus warns against “practicing [our] righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:1) so that we are not deceived into evil practices or thoughts or beliefs. People seduce. People deceive. People lead others astray. God, on the other hand, loves, redeems, gives life, speaks truth, leads us to eternal and abundant blessings.
I’m not settled on whether or how to write a five-day-a-week blog. I have not abandoned the idea. But I am convinced that I need to do something to follow the model of the Son of God who considered it important to spend time with his Father: alone time, prayer time, meditation time, time in the presence of God. So stay tuned. And I will seek to offer what I may as a gift from God to you, dear reader, and let that flow from my time with him: alone time, prayer time, meditation time – seeking to be shaped by him.