When you are in ministry, people just assume that you have a very strong relationship with Jesus. And they should be able to assume that, but unfortunately, it is an assumption that doesn’t always turn out to be true. In my ministry I get to talk to a lot of pastors, and truth be told, many of them know a lot of facts about Jesus, but for any number of reasons, they don’t have a close personal relationship with Him anymore. Here are some common reasons:
- Not enough time with the Word. It is one thing to read the Bible to get together a sermon outline or lesson, it is quite another to read the Bible devotionally for the sole purpose of drawing closer to Jesus.
- Not enough time in Prayer. Sometimes we are in such a big hurry that the only prayers we offer are before meals and from the pulpit.
- Not enough Faith. You might be shocked to learn how many ministers struggle with their faith on a day-to-day basis. It isn’t that they are atheists, but they’ve come to a point in their spiritual journey where they just have trouble believing like they once did.
- Not enough Motivation. Sometimes after working 50-70 hours a week in ministry, you are so spent trying to be Jesus to others, that you have no drive to spend time with the real Jesus yourself.
- Not enough Concern. Unfortunately, there are a number of ministers who just don’t care about knowing Jesus at any more depth than they know Him now.
The words above aren’t written to condemn, but to recognize some of the behaviors that have led us away from knowing Jesus as we should. I am convinced that we all would rather experience what John shared:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life–the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us–that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. — 1 John 1:1-3 (NKJV)
It’s hard not to envy John as we read these words. He begins this letter by identifying himself as one who had experienced an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. How wonderful to consider what it must have been like to hear, see, and touch the one who has always been. If we use our imaginations, we can perhaps obtain a small glimpse of what John was able to see firsthand so many years ago.
But you and I both know that seeing Jesus with our eyes is not what we need the most, even though it would make us feel good on an emotional level. What is most important is that we recognize Jesus as John describes Him, as “the Word of life.” This is the same way John started out his Gospel account – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NKJV). This Word John speaks of is the eternal, infallible, sinless, crucified, risen, and returning Son of the living God. And the great news is that today, even as you read these words, THE Word wants nothing more than for you to grow in relationship with Him. Are you ready?
How can you begin to know Jesus again on a personal level? How about reversing the negatives above, and turning them into positives?
- Spend time in the Word! Starting right now, open your Bible and begin reading one of the Gospels and discover all over again why you are in love with Jesus. Don’t stop to take notes! Don’t try to find a sermon outline in the text! Just read it and take the time to ponder how great Jesus is.
- Start Praying! Jesus wants to hear your voice right now. You don’t have to come up with something flowery or something that sounds like an institutional prayer. Just lay your heart out to Jesus like you once did. Let Him know your fears, your doubts, your frustrations, but also let Him know that He can count on you to continue fighting for Him and His Kingdom!
- Begin Building Your Faith! Remember all the ways that God has worked in your life in the past. Ponder all the times you’ve seen Him work in the lives of others. Look up into the sky and fathom the wonderful universe that He has created. What brought you to faith in the first place? Reflect on that and begin to focus on it all over again.
- Recharge Your Battery! I know what it is like to work long hours, struggling to be everything everyone thinks you should be. It is exhausting! You are going to have to take time off for yourself. Hopefully you are taking at least one day a week where you are not focusing on ministry at all. Read a book, go for a walk, talk to your spouse! Allow yourself a break from the everyday stress of ministry.
- Reignite Your Passion! You know deep down that without an intimate relationship with Jesus, your life is just going to keep getting worse. Depression, burnout, marital problems, and much more, often take place when we lose our passion for Jesus and the ministry He has called us to. All of what has been stated above will help you to get your passion back, but there is one more thing that will help — surrender your life to Him all over again. I’m not talking about being “resaved,” but recommitting yourself to Jesus and your calling. When you recommit you refocus, and when you refocus, your passion will return.
So Pastor, how well do you know Jesus? I hope that starting today, you’ll take the steps necessary to know Him better than you ever have before!
Now please do me a favor — click the “Read More” button directly below this message and then go down to where it says “Leave A Reply” and let me know if this article helped you today. Feel free to share with us and other pastors who will read this, how God is helping you to get to know Him better. Also, please click on the social media buttons and share this on Facebook, Twitter, etc… to help get the word out! We truly want to be the “Pastor’s Helper.”