Get Alone With God
Alo01 – Get Alone With God – Psalm 62:1-2
Pastor Dave Shepardson Calvary Chapel Nuevo / www.wordbymail.com
Open your Bibles. We’re starting a new series today. Title of the series is Alone With God. Title of the message today, “Get Alone With God.” The key scripture is Psalm 62:1-2.
After thirty eight years of following Jesus myself and after thirty years of helping other people follow Jesus (most of that in formal church leadership), there is one thing that I’ve seen one hundred percent effective in transforming a Christian’s life. That one thing is developing a genuine, fully committed, daily interaction with God – in his Word and led by his Spirit.
I am talking about something much deeper than the casual reading of scripture, or skimming through a ready-made devotion. Whenever I have seen someone develop the habit of truly getting alone with God, and learning how to truly meet God, in his Word…
being guided by the Holy Spirit
genuinely applying God’s Word
and genuinely responding to God in their actions…
(In my experience) when that becomes routine in a person’s life, that person will be truly and radically transformed one hundred percent of the time. It is the only thing I’ve seen one hundred percent effective every single time I’ve seen someone do this, routinely over time with a genuine desire to truly meet God.
Let’s pray and I’ll show you how to do this. Lord Jesus, I pray you would just drive that home, that we would understand that you’ve done everything, that you are ready, that your Word is living and active and powerful. Sharper than a two edged sword. It discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts. It can heal. It can restore. It can purify. It can direct, and it’s lit alive by your Spirit. And if we will just put ourselves in that place then your life in us, through your living Word, directed and empowered by your living Spirit, will transform us as Christians. It’s the only way you’ve designed for our lives to be made new. I pray that you would make it real to us in this time, for your glory, Jesus, and in your name, amen.
Our salvation is by faith alone and that “salvation by faith alone” is something we often associate with a “Prayer of Faith” or “Salvation Prayer.” And if that prayer of faith is real then that salvation is real.
But I really need you to hear this. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is clear that “moment of salvation” is the beginning of a “growing, real relationship” with a “real, living God.” It’s the beginning of a genuine relationship that goes from that moment of salvation and lasts into eternity. And it is within that ongoing, real, living relationship with God that the transformation of our life takes place. And it is within that relationship that God gets a hold of us, and molds us and shapes us, and refines us and transforms us.
The problem is developing and maintaining that ongoing, real relationship with God is precisely what most Christians fail to do. The very place God has designed to meet us and transform us is the very place so many of us have so much difficulty.
For the past eight years, we’ve been using the Daily Devotion Journal (DDJ) to help people get alone with God and meet God in a life changing way on a regular basis. Getting alone with God and knowing what to do there is where your relationship with the Lord grows and thrives. That’s not to say that joining with other believers in discipleship and fellowship is not important – it is. And we use the DDJ in discipling relationships and it works great there. But God designed you first to be in a personal relationship with him, and for that relationship to be what it was designed to be you and I need to regularly spend time – alone with God.
You were given a copy of our DDJ as you walked in today. If not, please get one on your way out. You can download the DDJ at calvarynuevo.org/resources.
The Daily Devotion Journal is not some kind of “secret formula” although sometimes it feels like it is when God clearly speaks to you through this process. But it’s simply a guide to walk you through a meaningful and transforming time with the Lord on a routine basis.
There are four steps to the Daily Devotion Journal and each of those four steps is interacting with God in his Word and according to his Word and that is critical for you to hear. All that we do in our relationship with Jesus Christ, all of it, is directed by and according to his Word. So the DDJ is simply guiding you through a powerful interaction with God in his Word.
So, in this series we’re going to develop each of these four steps one at a time. And to start the series, in this message we’re going to talk about the environment that you and I must create where we can focus on the Lord and hear from the Lord in this personal relationship time. It all starts with us getting alone with God.
So let me clearly define the reason for us getting alone with God.
The reason for us getting alone with God is for us to purposefully meet with the Lord in such a way that his Word and his Spirit will noticeably transform our lives.
Twice in Psalm 62 King David make this famous commitment.
Psalm 62:1–2 (ESV)
1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
And then he repeats this commitment just three verses later.
Psalm 62:5–8 (ESV)
5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
We’ve got to learn to wait on God alone. We’ve got to learn to be still in God’s presence. As Psalm 46:10 says,
Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
10 “Be still, and know that I am God . . .
But that is easier said than done, right? Be still? Are you kidding me? In this our “world of screens”? If it’s not the TV screen, it’s the computer screen and it is always (at all times) the cell phone screen. And not only are we always occupied by a screen of some sort, but we are under constant bombardment from competing desires in this world. We are hit with thousands of images every day, designed to affect how we think and what we set our minds on. And the vast majority of all of it draws us away from God, not towards God.
But we are sojourners in this world. We are true citizens of heaven. We are called to be IN the world but not OF the world. But the world is monopolizing our time and our mind.
There’s a worship song that says, “This world has nothing for me” yet our lives (our Christian lives) are constantly controlled by the things of this world. We have got to put a stop to that – preferably for a few minutes every single day. We’ve got to choose to stop the bombardment of the world and do what it takes to get alone with God. We’ve got to stop letting “screens” determine what we are giving our attention to because Christian’s lives are far too often directed by the same screens that non-Christian’s lives are directed by.
There’s got to be a time – preferably daily – where we say I am going to stop being led by the screens of the world right now and I am going to get alone with God, and I am going to meet God right now!
Getting alone with God is about setting aside a time on a routine basis where we go one-on-one with God in his Word and in prayer – led by the Holy Spirit. We get alone with God and we interact with God instead of the screens of this world. It’s a place where we feed our Spirit instead of feeding our flesh.
It’s a time where we experience a real relationship with God
KNOWING that he is with us
INTERACTING with him in his Word
and RESPONDING to him accordingly.
But if you’ve ever tried this you know we have to fight for this time, don’t we? We have to fight off the seemingly important things of the day in order to get alone with God, don’t we?
And Jesus had to fight for his time alone with the Father and I’d like to say “just like us” but it WASN’T “just like us” because Jesus was in the process of saving the world. But Jesus did not let the burden of “saving the world” keep him from his time alone with the Father. In fact, he knew if he didn’t get time alone with the Father he could not “carry the burden” of saving the world.
Luke 5:15–16 (ESV)
15. . . and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.
16 But he (Jesus) would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Jesus would leave the people (who needed to hear his message and be healed by him). He would withdraw from them in order to be alone with the Father because time alone with the Father was absolutely crucial to Jesus’ purpose on earth. And if it was crucial to Jesus while he was on earth then how much more crucial should it be to us?
In Mark Chapter 1, after Jesus had taught in Capernaum he went back to Peter’s house and Jesus healed Peter’s Mother-in-Law.
And then we read in Mark 1:32-33,
Mark 1:32–33 (ESV)
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all(word means ALL) who were sick or oppressed by demons.
33 And the whole city (the word means ENTIRE) was gathered together at the door.
The ministry of Jesus was just gaining momentum and the whole city wanted to hear him and be healed by him.
But instead Mark 1:35-37 says,
Mark 1:35-37 (ESV)
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him,
37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”
Everyone is LOOKING for you Jesus – to be Ministered t but you’re ALONE WITH GOD– praying . . . ??
Yeah, because Jesus knew he had to do what was most important for him to do. Jesus routinely said no people’s demands so that he could say yes to being alone with God. How much more do we need the same thing?
In Mark Chapter 6 the ministry work load was overwhelming and we read in Mark 6:31,
Mark 6:31 (NLT)
31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
But the people saw them leave and chased them down and Jesus and the disciples end up feeding 5,000 of them. But, after all that’s finished, Jesus makes sure that both his disciples and himself get some alone time with God.
After free lunch for 5,000 was over, we read in Mark 6:45-46,
Mark 6:45–46 (NLT)
45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home.
46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
Jesus and the disciples were worn out from the ministry and Jesus knew exactly what to do. He dismissed the crowds. Then he sent the disciples out alone in a boat and then he went up on the mountain – by himself – to be alone with God and pray.
Over and over again we read at the beginning of the day Jesus made a conscious choice to remove himself to a place where he could get alone with God and pray.
Jesus constantly met with the Father alone and even more so when the circumstances got difficult and time got short.
Isn’t that just the opposite of us?
We say, “I’m way too busy, things are far too difficult right now. I couldn’t possibly stop now to spend time with God. Maybe when things slow down or get easier.”
This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus did. Jesus knew he could not complete his work here without constant “alone time” with the Father. If that is true for Jesus while he was on earth, how much more true is that for us?
Creating a place and a time where we can get alone with God provides the environment where God can begin to speak to you and transform your life. It all starts with a regular commitment to get some time alone with God.
Psalm 119:147–148 (NLT)
147 I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148 I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.
That is exactly what I’m talking about.
I rise up early before the sun is up
I stay awake through the night…
Often, that is exactly what it takes to get some time – alone with God.
We’ve got to make a time and a place where we experience a real relationship with God
KNOWING that he is with us
INTERACTING with him in his Word
and RESPONDING to him accordingly.
When God called the Prophet Ezekiel he said to him in Ezekiel 3:22, “Get up and go out into the valley, and I will speak to you there.”
We have got to hear God calling us to that place where he can speak to us and where we can respond.
In Matthew 6:6 Jesus said,
Matthew 6:6 (NLT)
6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
The context here is – no prideful, public prayer. But Jesus is conveying an attitude of humbly meeting with God, alone. We’re talking about a personal time with God where you open your heart and your life to him and you honestly share your life with God… and then you honestly hear from God through his Word and by his Spirit. And then you apply God’s Word – by his Spirit – to your life. Then, you respond to God’s Word by the power of his Holy Spirit within you – and then over time, God will transform your life! He will transform you from glory to glory by the power of his Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
We have got to create an environment where we can regularly spend time beholding the glory of the Lord and as we do, the Lord will transform us into his image from one degree to another by the power of his Spirit.
That is what we signed up for. That’s what we said the salvation prayer for. To be transformed from death to life. To be transformed from a life in the flesh to a life in the Spirit, to have a real, genuine, life-changing relationship with the God of our salvation, and that is what God wants too.
Next week, we’ll start talking about what to do during our time alone with God.
To close today, we have communion and what an incredible way to illustrate our need to share life with our Lord Jesus.
Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, do that for us. Inspire us, Lord. Take hold of our hearts and our minds and transform us Lord. That’s our true, genuine desire – to be a light in the darkness, to be a city on a hill, to be a testimony to your glory, to allow people to see you in us. To have our lives transformed so much and so evidently that you are glorified in our lives and that we would be changed from one degree to another until the day we are physically in your presence, God. Lord to do that, inspire us to make a time and a place to be alone with you so that you can do what you desire to do in us, so that you can do what you desire to do through us. Thank you for doing it. Convict us by your Spirit and inspire us to get alone with you. For your glory in our lives and in your name Jesus, amen.
Today we are going to take communion. Communion is such an incredible illustration of what I just shared with you. This illustration, this sacrament of Jesus saying, “My life is to be your life. We’re to share life, commune, but to such extent that my life takes over your life.”
We are to be crucified with Christ and his life is to take over our life.
As we consume you, Lord Jesus, may your life replace our dead life. Amen.