“Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.”
– Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 6:31, HCSB)
There’s something oddly symbolic for me about driving my car with the low fuel light on. There’s also something symbolic about filling up the gas tank. It occurred to me this morning while driving that, after filling the tank, I know longer had anxiety about how much gas was in my car. I felt assured that my car would take me to whatever destination I needed it to, because my tank was full. A full tank of gas on a Ford Taurus is at least 300 miles, give or take, so there was no need for me to worry.
My relationship with Jesus works the same way. When I’m reading His words daily and immersing myself in the person He is—as recorded by those who knew Him best in the Gospels—I’m “filling my tank.” In order to have a relationship with Jesus, I need to be having a conversation with Him. I can’t just be talking to Him. His followers recorded what He said so that future believers would be able to wrestle with the words of our Lord just as they did. I need to be thinking about what Jesus said in order to allow the Holy Spirit to respond to my doubts and questions.
The more frequently I do this, the better I get to know Jesus. Just as I would learn about any of my friends that I see every day, I learn about Jesus who I don’t see by allowing His Spirit to speak to me in His Word. Every time I do this, it’s like I’m “filling my tank” with a fresh in-dwelling of His Spirit and Word, allowing me to leave my worries to God. His words are a comfort. His love is steadfast. His mercies are new every morning. His “yoke is easy, and His burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
However, when I neglect to remind myself of the presence of God in my life, I’m running on empty. I start to worry things like, “Will I remember what Jesus said at the right time for it to matter?” or “Am I loving Jesus through my actions always by keeping Him first?” Because, if I’m not even talking to Him at least once a day, we’re not very close friends. That’s not a relationship. That’s me being Jesus’ Twitter follower. I want to be His student, not His social media “friend.” Jesus is my Lord, Savior, and Teacher, and while He is also my friend, He does not cease to be everything else He is to me.
Reading His words every day reminds me of that. Keeping Jesus in my daily conversation reminds me of who He is. And Jesus is amazing. His love is overwhelming and His sacrifice is something I will never feel worthy of. But He died the death that I should have died, raised Himself to conquer death and sin, and offers me His life for my brokenness, free of charge, based on nothing but grace. Knowing Jesus more deeply makes it so much easier to believe Him and follow Him, without any worries or doubts.
Brothers and sisters, it is my sincere desire that you look into Jesus’ words yourself. Get to know the man as He said He was, and find the only truly satisfying relationship that exists.