This is part six of a seven part series of devotionals based on “Oceans” by Hillsong United. If you missed the beginning of the series, click here.
The sum of “Oceans” by Hillsong United is found in the simple phrase, “I am yours and you are mine.” Is there really anything more powerful than that?
“For I am yours and You are mine.” – “Oceans”
Think about it. God – in all of His splendor, majesty, and goodness – is in a relationship with us. Obviously, that relationship only exists if we welcome the invitation. When we are in a relationship with God, we become His, and He becomes ours.
It’s just like any relationship, except it’s with God, our Creator.
When we walk in the reality of knowing we are God’s, we can walk with confidence, strength and reckless abandonment. Just like Jesus did while on Earth in the flesh.
We often look at the various stories of Jesus with puzzlement, asking “How could he remain composed in that situation? How could he be that strong? How could he love so much?”
Often times, we simplify the answer to the question of how Jesus did what he did as a human being to, “Well He is God, that’s how He did what he did.”
But I really don’t think that’s the answer. It’s just not that simple.
God sent Jesus to this Earth to show us what it looks like to be a follower of God.
Before Christ came, the people of God were endlessly confused and wayward in their practices. When Christ came, He came to be the flesh of the written Word. He showed us what it looks like to be yoked to God.
I want to go back to the story I discussed in Part 4 of this “Oceans” by Hillsong United devotional series- the story where Jesus walks on water in Matthew 14:22-33.
Have you ever noticed what occurs right before this story? More specifically – where is Jesus at that moment?
Seriously, where is Jesus?
The disciples are on the boat traversing the lake, but their teacher is not with them. This is a bit peculiar, if you stop and think about it.
But do you remember what happened just before this story begins? It’s one of Jesus’ most famous miracles, the feeding of 5,000. Jesus just had an amazing ministry turn out, in fact, it’s one of the best ministry events in all of history. At that point in his ministry, thousands of people were following Jesus. However, the conveniences of the modern, first world were simply not available back then. For many of the thousands in attendance, witnessing Jesus speak meant they had not taken the necessary steps to secure food for the day – particularly laboring to earn daily money and baking bread.
Thousands are hungry, with no plan to eat, and Jesus responds by feeding them from the smallest of provisions.
Jesus performs one of his most famous miracles and then whats he do after that? Does he seize the opportunity to preach to his now well fed captive audience? No.
I mean He could of, right? He had all the people’s bellies fed and He certainly had their attention. He could of given the an even more intense sermon, using the captured attention of the audience to further propel the message He came to Earth to give.
He would of been crazy not to, right?
But that’s not what He did. He sent the disciples in a boat to cross the lake, and Jesus dismissed the crowds and went to the top of the mountain.
Hmm… This is not a conventional method of ministry, by our standards anyway, but nothing about Jesus is conventional (and I love it!)
So Jesus dismisses the crowd and retreats to the mountain. But what is Jesus doing on top of the mountain?
He’s spending time with His Father, and that’s the crux of it all.
Jesus stopped everything He was doing because He needed to be with God in the intimate way that He lived in relationship with God. He needed to recharge and refuel. The only way to do that was to go to the source of his power, which is God.
Jesus knew that nothing He did mattered if He wasn’t connected to the Father.
Remember, Jesus is our example of what it looks like to be a follower. So Jesus shows us in this interchange, between the feeding of 5,000 and walking on water, where He in fact gets the strength to be…well… Jesus.
It’s not just because Jesus is God that he was able to do all of the amazing things He did during his earthly ministry. No, no, no. What Jesus showed us is that He is God’s and God is His. He’s showing us what it looks like to be in the most important relationship one could ever be in, the relationship between God and beloved child – which is us.
Jesus comes out of that intense prayer time on the mountain, and afterward finds the disciples in the storm. Jesus, totally in control, walks on the stormy seas and calls Peter to join Him. That control is a direct result of His time with the Father.
He was calm, cool and collected – ready for the next wave life threw at Him. That’s how Jesus was Jesus. It’s no mystery and it’s not just reserved for Jesus or the ministry professionals. It’s an invitation for all of us, it’s open to anyone who wants it.
Understanding you are God’s is one of the most important lessons anyone can learn.
When one lives in that reality, we step towards becoming like Jesus, finding strength in situations where there shouldn’t be strength. It seems inhumanly possible, and in a sense, it is.
Because the kind of strength Jesus displayed didn’t come from humanity.
It came from time spent in relationship with the Maker. Living in this reality, the reality of an on going relationship with God, enables us to become just who God created us to be…
God is calling us to an ever growing relationship with Him, but it’s our open choice if we will grow in that relationship. When we make ourselves available to God’s presence, we continue to grow closer to Him. Just like any relationship, it takes time and effort. God is willing to invest in you and is waiting for you to invest more deeply in Him.
One way we can do that is by the spiritual practice of Examen. Examen simply helps the seeker to understand God’s voice and movement throughout the day. It’s a great way to look back on the occurrences of the day and see where God’s hand was, it helps us to see what brings life to us and what brings death.
Reflect on where God was in the highs and lows of your day. Think about the busy times, quiet times, mundane times, and all the other various rhythms of your day.
How might your awareness of God’s presence in these activities shaped your day had you been deeply attuned to His presence?
Where did you give or receive love in your activities or interactions of the day? Where might you have withheld love and grace in your activities or interactions of the day?
Look back over the past year. List the things that brought you life and the times you were able to truly give and receive love. Make another list of the life-thwarting moments. What do you discover about yourself? How can this self-awareness help you choose a healthier, God-directed life?
Teach your children the practice of finding God in their daily life. You can teach Examen by playing “I spy God.” At the dinner table invite your children to tell you where they have spied God in their day. Join in with them in the game and share your experiences too!
May you grow in your relationship with God who loves you more than you can imagine.