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     Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
     As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2
     Dear Lord Jesus, this simple story confronts and corrals my wandering heart this morning. Two unschooled, ordinary fishermen, Peter and John, were radically changed because “these men had been with Jesus”—with you, the same Lord who lives in my heart and rules all things from heaven.
     O, to be a man about whom others would be inclined to say, “He’s obviously been with Jesus. What else could explain his merciful heart for the broken, his courage in the face of injustice, and his calm in the presence of chaos? What other motivation and reason would he have for loving so boldly, forgiving so quickly, and sharing so generously? What else could account for his patience when provoked, his loud laugh and his ready tears, the way he treats his wife and looks a stranger in the eye?”
     How well I know, Lord Jesus, that doing noble things for you is not the same thing as spending life-giving time with you. Thinking great thoughts about you is not the same thing as vital communion with you. Helping others understand the gospel is not the same thing as drinking presently and deeply from the wellspring of grace for myself. In all honesty, I’m not really concerned about others being able to say, “He’s been with Jesus.” I want my own heart to know that I’ve been with you.
     Who or what do I have in heaven but you, Jesus? You make heaven heavenly; it’s not about streets of gold, but your unabated presence. Being with you, I desire nothing else on earth, because absolutely nothing else satisfies my soul like you do. My flesh and my heart may fail, but you, Jesus, are the strength of my heart and my portion, my banquet, my inheritance, forever. It is good, and it is enough, for me to be near you, my sovereign Savior and my loving refuge. So very Amen I pray, in your holy and compassionate name.

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2 thoughts on “A Prayer for Being with Jesus”

  1. anonymous says:

    amen, your steadfast love is better than life! Ps 63:3

  2. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Here we open up a new chapter: when a Christian is praying earnestly for being with Jesus as the ultimate goal of life.

    At first sight I saw ‘something good’ happening when I began to read your daily prayers, Scotty. Thank you so much for this! Since it is a rare thing that a pastor opens up his heart frankly by publishing such honest prayers. You are, indeed, making this one special way to explain for Christians the urgent need of an intimate relationship with our Savior and Lord.

    I think that the idea to be known as someone who has obviously been, or still is with Jesus (in spiritual union) may be tempting, but I guess that the experience, particularly of the apostles, was a different one. Though the first Christians had favor with all the people (Acts 2:47), Jesus said,

    “[…] and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” (Mt 10:22).

    Paul followed suit by saying,

    “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

    I think being loved and hated at the same time are two sides of the “Christian coin”…One can’t separate green from earth nor blue from sky, nor can a Christian get around the experience to be hated for Jesus’ sake, sometimes even in one’s own family (Mt 10:34-37). The reason for hatred from loved ones lies in the fact that a true believer cannot be manipulated any longer. He or she ceases meeting the expectations of father, mother, spouse, children, and other relatives in case those ask the believers to do something God doesn’t want at all. Those believers know that they “must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). Though it may hurt to be hated, His yoke is easy (Mt 11:30) for He helps carrying it.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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