A couple months ago I got back from a short-term mission trip to Malawi in southern Africa. I learned some amazing lessons that I’m trying to apply now that I’m back in the US — the most valuable of which is loving God intentionally. In this blog post I will talk about the importance of loving God intentionally, the barriers that threaten our relationship with God, and ways to make changes in our lifestyle in order to pursue a meaningful relationship with the Father. Be encouraged as you find peace and joy in loving God the way he desires us to be in relationship with Him.
Being in Malawi, I was struck by how calm and peaceful life seemed to be. For my team and I, there was no phone, no Internet, no TV and few cars. Instead, there was time in daily life to develop relationships. I was immediately attracted to this lifestyle and embraced the lack of distraction in my relationship with God. Somehow I was up early every morning around 5:45 spending time with Him. As we met, I noticed the stillness, the beauty of my surroundings, and the hunger I had for quality time with my Father and best friend.
Even though I’m still hungry for Him back home, why do I find it so hard to meet with God the same way it was so easy in Africa? It’s hard because of the distraction of my busy life here where we value efficiency, productivity and entertainment over quality relationship. Therefore we must be intentional to love God. We love Him, but we forget to love Him. The fact is that love is both a feeling and an action. And to love God the way He loves us, it takes radical action amongst the clutter of our busy culture.
Consider the way Jesus was intentional in loving his Father:
“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” – Luke 5:15-16
Life was getting chaotic for Jesus. His popularity was growing like wildfire and people constantly wanted things from him. Ministry seemed almost non-stop as crowds followed him everywhere, and when the crowds weren’t there, his disciples still were. These were all good things, but he still realized his need to withdraw and be filled in his relationship with the Father.
Does this sound like it has application to our lives here in the Silicon Valley? In a life filled with clutter and distractions, we have to be radically intentional in pursuing a deep relationship with God. This means talking and listening as we pray to Him. It means turning off our phones as we get in the Word. It means drawing away to “desolate places” to be with Him, which could mean a mountaintop or the corner of a quiet café with just a journal and a Bible. God deserves the best of our time, and not just for a few minutes when we’re falling asleep before bed. Think about what this could mean for you.
Your assignment is to ask yourself “what adjustments can I make in my daily life to allow for meaningful, undistracted time with my loving Father?” Write down 3 things that you could do to secure quality time with God. Jesus sacrificed his life for a relationship with you, so how will you respond in joyful pursuit of Him?
Author: Jeff Oleson