Word By Mail

 How Do I Run to Jesus?

Proverbs 4:23

Message #22

This is a “part two” message. It’s a follow-up message to “part one” from last week, titled “Our Refuge and Our Hope” which was message number 21 in our Joshua series. So, for this message to really make sense, I’d encourage you to watch or listen to the part one message from last week. You can get last week’s message on our Phone App. Just search wordbymail in your app store. The message is in the Joshua series. Or you can get it on the church website: calavarynuevo.org under Teaching. (Or Google Calvary Chapel Nuevo.)

So HOW do I run to Jesus? Last week our message was all about running to Jesus as our refuge and our hope as we looked at the illustration in Joshua Chapter 20. But I just couldn’t leave it alone because we must know – how do I run to Jesus? And today, I can only tell you how to get started knowing HOW to Run to Jesus.

I can’t tell you everything about how to run to Jesus, but I can tell you for starters that running to Jesus starts with your heart – not your head. Running to Jesus starts in the center of your being with what the Bible calls “your heart.” Running to Jesus is NOT an intellectual process.

Running to Jesus is a matter of your heart setting the direction of your life to be fixed on the refuge and the hope that is in Jesus Christ alone. 

Tyndale Bible Dictionary helps us understand what I mean by “a matter of the heart.”

Tyndale Dictionary Defines The Heart (Spiritually) like this:
  •             The “heart” signifies the total inner self.
  •             It is a person’s hidden core of being.
  •             It is the genuine self, separate from appearance (1Sam 16:7)
  •             The heart is the seat of our knowledge of God (2 Cor 4:6)
  •             And the heart determines our ability to see God (Mat 5:8)

AND- The heart is the location (spiritually) of WHERE God indwells our lives.

2 Corinthians 1:22 (NLT)
22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts . . . 

The Holy Spirit is the primary member of the Godhead at work in the world today, and he is placed in our hearts, the most inner place of our being.

Galatians 4:6 (NLT)
6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 

Into our hearts – not convincing our mind, but invading our hearts, invading the innermost place of our being. And then crying out “Abba, Daddy. I trust you; I need you; I come to you as my refuge and my strength.” That happens in your heart, not in your head.

Ephesians 3:17 (NLT)
17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him . . .

And where is it– that we speak to God- from, and hear from God, and commune with God...?

Psalm 27:8 (NLT)
8My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” 

When the Bible talks about the heart, it’s talking about your inner self – the very core of your being, and that is where running to Christ as your refuge and your hope occurs. That is where we know him. His locale, his location. That is where he speaks to us and communes with us. Not intellectually, but in the deep places of the heart, in the innermost being.

So, if running to Christ is a matter of our heart, then do we NOT need our mind to follow Jesus? Of course not! Your mind is critically necessary for you to be transformed in Christ. I could list just as many verses on the importance of your mind as I have on the importance of your heart. The question is – which comes first, the mind or the heart?

If you fill your mind with knowledge about God, will it create a fire in your heart to serve him, to love him, to chase after him? Not necessarily. But if you get a fire started in the innermost place of your being to chase after Jesus, to be in his presence, to abide in him, for him to be your refuge and your strength – that desire will lead you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, as Romans 12:2 says. Your inner self, the very core of your being, is your heart, and that is where we run to Christ. It comes first.

Let me ask you. Why did Jesus pick, almost exclusively, untrained, uneducated, non-intellectuals as the original disciples? Why did he pick simple fishermen? Because he needed their hearts first and then he, himself, would renew their minds. He needed them to be sold out in love with him, willing at all costs to follow him any place, under any circumstance, for any length of time. He needed their hearts.

Even the great Apostle Paul (one of the greatest intellects of his time) was worthless to God. In fact, he was an enemy of God until his heart was transformed. Once God had Paul’s heart, God sanctified Paul’s mind and used him mightily for the glory of God. But he was useless to God until God had his heart.

And how many of the Pharisees – who had so much knowledge about God and his Word – how many of them was Jesus able to use? A few. But only those whose hearts had been given (secretly) to Jesus. And besides those few, none of those who had the most knowledge about God and his Word could be used by Jesus to bring hope to the world.

It must be a matter of the heart, first, and then God will transform your mind. 

I can’t begin to tell you just how true this has been for me in over twenty-five years of formal church leadership, the radical difference between someone with a head full of knowledge versus someone whose heart is set on fire for Jesus. The radical difference between those two people can sometimes be scary. In fact, the people who scare me most in the Bible are those with knowledge about Jesus but no heart-based relationship with Jesus.

Here’s just a little piece from Matthew 23:27-28.

Matthew 23:27–28 (NLT)
27. . . Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside (your actions) but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity (your hearts).
28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. 

And what about the infamously scary verse in Matthew Chapter 7 where people come to Jesus on Judgment day saying they did this and that and the other thing for him?

Matthew 7:23 (NKJV)
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me . . .

That word “know” is our favorite Greek word – GINOSKO. It means an ever-increasing, intimate, personal relationship. And that real, genuine, personal relationship is a matter of the heart first, and then the mind follows.

What we’re talking about is setting your heart – your innermost being on a life or death determined mission to get to Jesus himself, to know him, to abide in him, and have him abide in you. It’s about having a heart on fire to seek to commune with Jesus to walk with him, to be empowered by him, to trust your entire life into his hands as your only refuge and your only hope.

Consider this; my life is not changed because I know about marriage. My life is changed because my heart is set on loving my wife and seeking after her. And my heart – that is set on loving my wife – drives my mind and drives my actions, including my desire to learn about her and learn about marriage. Is that making sense?

Let’s look at how Jesus responds to his very first disciples. In John Chapter 1, John the Baptist is standing with his own disciples when he sees Jesus walk by.

John 1:35–36 (NLT)
35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples.
36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 

The word translated ‘look” (or behold) means to focus intently on, to purposefully fix your gaze on.

Focus intently- FIX your gaze– ON the Lamb of God

Notice, John did not say go learn about him, although the disciples will eventually learn all they need to know… but their first instruction was FOCUS INTENTLY on him and (by implication) – FOLLOW him. And then we read in the next verse,

John 1:37 (NLT)
37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. 

This means they both physically followed Jesus, going on after him, and they spiritually followed Jesus as his disciples. And then – in John 1:38(a) – Jesus is still walking (NLT).

John 1:38(a) (NLT)
38 Jesus looked 
(or turned) around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them . . . 

Jesus turns to his first two disciples, and the first thing he says is, “What do you want?” (ESV says) “What are you seeking?”

This is a question of heart motivation. This is a heart question. Jesus doesn’t ask, “What do you know?” He doesn’t even ask, “What do you believe?” He asks, “What do you want?” What is your heart’s motivation in coming to me?

Here is a truth that is critical to remember.
The direction of our lives is NOT SET by our KNOWLEDGE
The direction of our lives is SET by the MOTIVATION OF OUR HEART

Which is why Proverbs 4:23 says,
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Running to Jesus is a matter of your heart setting the course of your life to follow Jesus, which is the point of the first question Jesus asks his first two disciples. And their response might seem a little odd, but in the light of our conversation here is actually very powerful.

Jesus turns and asks them “What do you WANT?” and we read in John 1:38(b),

John 1:38(b) (NLT)
38 . . . They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 

Is there a chance that John the Baptist had correctly taught these first two disciples that what they needed most was to be with Jesus? Is there a chance that John the Baptist had taught them so well that they were saying to Jesus, “We just want to be where you are; we want to be in your presence”?

Running to Jesus is not about gaining knowledge. It’s about desiring a real, genuine, transforming relationship with him, and if you will run to Jesus with all your heart, then he – through his Word – will renew your mind and transform your life (Romans 12:2).

So how many of you are still saying, HOW? “Yeah, but HOW do I do it?” Maybe you’ve been trying hard, maybe for a long time to learn about Jesus. And maybe you’ve even accepted that militant requirement that you must read your Bible and pray every day. And so, you have. You read your Bible like a newspaper, and you pray like you hope God is up there somewhere and then you say, “Well, if I were honest, I’d have to say… nothing’s really changing.”

But Jesus whirled around and asked his first two disciples, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
What is motivating you to read your Bible and pray? Is it a legalistic requirement – which you think if you can just meet it that somehow, something will happen that you want to happen?

Listen, please. RELIGION calls us to legalistic action. The BIBLE calls us to a genuine relationship. Those two things are polar opposites.

But wait a minute…Does a genuine relationship come from meeting God in his Word and communing with him in prayer every day? ABSOLUTELY it does! But as Jesus said, “What do you want” when you sit down to read and pray? Is your heart completely, intently set on experiencing a genuine two-way interaction with the Lord, in his Word, and is your heart set on experiencing communion with Jesus in prayer?

If it is, then you are truly running to Jesus, and he absolutely will be your refuge and your hope. But if that is not what you are doing, then you may forever spin your wheels in religious legalism.

So, allow me to get super classroom level practical. When you came in today, you were given a white paper folded in half. On the top, it says DAILY Devotion Journal. For those watching or listening online, you can download this same form at calvarynuevo.org under the “Resources” tab.

We’ve been using this form for eight years to teach people how to run to Jesus in absolutely any situation or circumstance. And if (and that’s a big IF) … IF a person will truly set their heart to what this form is designed to do – for thirty days – it has been 100% successful in Jesus becoming a refuge and a hope for that person in that situation. Did I say “100% successful”? I meant to say, “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT successful!!”

On the back, the side without the blank lines is an overview (summary) of the goal of the form. On the front (with the blank lines) is where you can learn to truly meet Jesus in any circumstance or situation. So, I’m just going to take a minute and go through this form.

On the front of the form, if you will learn to make this a habit, you will begin to live in a relationship with Christ, where he becomes who he desires to be in your life.

Number one – Pray. Slow Down. Get alone with God. Shut everything else out; pray that God would make your heart ready to hear from him. You can’t do this while you’re driving down the freeway. You have to actually be in a place where God can speak to you. You have to make yourself ready to hear from God. If you approach it with the right heart, God will speak.

Number two – Meditate. Meditate on the scripture text. The Hebrew means “to mutter, to murmur, to chew on.” Meditate on the text. Read it slowly. Read it carefully. Read it repeatedly. Check the surrounding verses for context, which controls interpretation. Then paraphrase in your own words the scripture that is speaking directly to you. Write as if God were speaking directly to you because he is speaking directly to you.

Number three – Apply. Apply it. Apply it. Apply it. It’s not knowledge. Apply – how specifically does this scripture apply to your life today? Be clear, be personal because God knows it already. What is God speaking to you about your life through this scripture? What is it? The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword. It divides – not only between bone and marrow – but between thoughts. It’s a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Let it. Let it. Let it pierce you and get real with God.

Number four – Respond. No response, no relationship. If I stop responding to Jesus, I’ll stop having a relationship with him. What specific action will you take today in response to this scripture? It can be physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental, but there has to be a response. You have to start a sentence that says, “Lord with the power of your Spirit I will…” and then you choose to obey. And when you choose to obey God will give you the power to obey.

Number five – Pray. Start and end it with prayer. Write out your prayer to God on this matter. This is helping you “think through the end of a pen.” It is an incredibly powerful thing, and I know some of you say, “Well, I’m not much of a writer.” Do it anyway.

Just get real with God. Meet Jesus where you are. When everything crashes in on you, when the pressure is on you, you need to find a way to run to Jesus for him to be your refuge and your hope. This is one way we found to do that.

Download this form. What we try to do is help you find thirty days of scripture to put on thirty of these forms, all focused on one topic. And if we can get you to use this form every day for thirty days, focused on one topic, it has been one hundred percent successful in drawing people into a deeper, transforming relationship with Jesus in the exact area they need him to be their refuge and their hope.

I know this message has been a little different than what you normally come to church to hear. But for many of you, this is the only time I get to talk to you, and we really, really want you to know HOW to Run to Jesus. We want you to know how to set your whole heart on him, on reaching him, knowing him, and abiding in him because that is how Jesus Christ truly becomes your refuge and your hope.

And so please remember, running to Jesus is a matter of the heart. If you want him to be your refuge and your hope, you’ve got to set your heart on him. You’ve got to desire to commune with him above all else… in every circumstance, in every situation.