- Phone: (813) 655-7431
- Meeting Address:
15326 Fishhawk Blvd. Lithia, FL 33547
- Saturday: 5 pm
- Sunday: 8, 9:30, & 11:15 am.
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” – Matthew 14:23
Depending on your age, it may be difficult to remember a time before GPS was available at the fingertips of most Americans. Truly, it was not that long ago when we had to search out an address on a map, or plan even the simplest trips in advance. And once we were out on the road, heaven forbid we got off the route! Finding your way again usually meant a painful amount of backtracking and perhaps even a stop at a sketchy gas station to ask for directions. All the while, someone in the car has got a crumpled map open in their hands, endlessly turning it back and forth, saying something like, “I think THIS is where we are…”
Jesus put on human flesh and came to Earth with a goal in mind. He had been commanded by His heavenly Father to live in obedience, not straying from that path all the days of his life. Everything he did was pointed toward an old cross standing by a roadside outside Jerusalem. Because of the humanity that he shared with us, we know that Jesus understands better than anyone the lure of the flashing lights and signs on the side of the road (Heb. 4:15). He withstood the temptation to stray from God’s plan day after day. Lewis put Christ’s superior understanding of temptation this way, “You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down… and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means…” How did Jesus maintain His direction? How did He manage to keep moving toward the destination for which He had set out?
Through the course of the four gospels, the pattern of Jesus’ life gives us at least part of the answer. Exemplified in Matthew fourteen, but repeated in many other places, our Savior showed us that in order to maintain His true north, He made one single thing a priority, no matter what was going on: He talked to His Father. Jesus had just fed an incredibly large crowd of people, miraculously multiplying the lunch of a small boy. The crowds clamored to follow Him and word of his miracles had even reached the other side of the Sea before Him. In the midst of all that ministry, Jesus purposefully made time to get alone and commune with God (Matt. 14:23).
It’s such a simple thing to let the busyness of our own journey keep us from spending time with that same Heavenly Father. To allow distractions (both good and bad) to alter our course just a few degrees at a time, until we’re so far off of God’s path for us that we begin to despair. But the example of Jesus offers us hope. Through His sacrifice we have daily access to the Director of our paths, our heavenly Father. If we intend to press on toward the goal that the LORD has called us to (Phil. 3:14), then it is essential that we take time each and every day to reset our compass, leaning in to the love of our Savior.