This devotional is a part of the devotional series “The Ultimate Rockstar: Parallels Between the Life and Times of Jesus Christ and the Life of an Artist”. For more info, Click here.
Main Scripture Reference: Matthew 14: 1-23
I know a number of people traveling on the road right now who find it difficult to find time to spend alone with God. It can be tough. There is a lot that goes into being a musician. I’ve observed the lives of many people I know who are in various facets of the industry and am constantly amazed at how they juggle it all: Touring musicians having no idea what city they are in at the time because it’s all a blur; Singers that have to make time for complete strangers when they haven’t seen their family in weeks. There’s a lot of internal and external pressure and expectations. With all that goes on, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and think “I’ve been on the road for 9 days and I have no idea what day it is or what city I am in. How on earth do I have time to spend with God?” The fact of the matter is you really don’t have time not to.
I’m not talking about “clocking in”. I’m not talking about because you are a believer then it is your “duty” to read your bible and pray. I’m not talking about going through the motions. What I am presenting to you is that there are so many things that you need that can only be found in spending time in the acknowledged presence of God. It is imperative. Jesus, (the rock star who this devotional is about remember ?), recognized this. There are some really good reasons why you should too.
Let’s take a look at what happened around the time of one of Jesus’ biggest “performances”, the miracle of feeding the 5000.
No Rest for the Weary…or the Grieving
Right before Jesus’ famous fish dinner for over 5000 people, Jesus got word that his cousin John the Baptist, someone who really got and understood him, was senselessly beheaded (Matthew 14:1-23). John was someone who loved and supported Jesus and was never trying to get in his spotlight. He was a true friend and he was senselessly murdered. Understandably, Jesus needed a time out and withdrew to a solitary place to be alone. Unfortunately, people followed him.
This wasn’t uncommon.
Jesus was always in demand for something- someone’s sick kid, someone’s problem, etc. He had just lost a loved one and couldn’t even have a moment to grieve. He could’ve turned to the crowd and said “I just found out they killed my cousin. Can you NOT follow me today? Can I live?” Yet the bible says he still had compassion on them (which says a lot about the selfless compassion of Christ). He put his grief (and his right to grieve) aside, healed the sick and fed an audience of over 5000 people. My goodness.
There are times when whatever is going on with you has got to be put to the side. It may be some bad news or an argument with a loved one. It may be sickness or exhaustion. It may even be loneliness, stress or emotional trouble. But the demands of your career sometimes require that you put those things to the side for the sake of others. That’s why it is so important to grasp what Jesus did next.
After feeding the 5000, it says “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”
Basically, Jesus took authority over his personal time. He told his crew to go ahead without him, told the people to be blessed and move on, and then he took some time to pray alone. Sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do. You have to take charge of your personal time with God. It has to be a priority because there are so many benefits that you are going to need to survive. Here are just a few.
- Spending time with God is where you can lay it all down.
When you spend time alone with God, you can lay it all down, the good, the bad and the uncertain. I think my favorite example of this was in the writings of David in the Old Testament. A musician himself, David’s span of emotions went from complete adoration of the Lord to complete anger; from frustration due to life’s disappointments to repentance of the disappointments he had within himself (See Psalm 13:1-6). According to the bible, he was a man after God’s own heart. Not because he did everything right because he definitely was not without sin. I really believe it was because he was in constant reverent yet transparent communication with God.
2. Spending time with God brings you back to who you really are.
Do you have anyone in your life that really gets you? Someone that you can sit in complete silence with and it’s all good because you don’t have to explain yourself because they just know you? It’s like that with God. You don’t need to try and entertain God. There is no need for pretenses. He’s not trying to sit with whatever your stage name/nickname/Twitter Username is. Just the real you. He knows exactly all that you are. That should never fill you with shame or make you want to be fearful. That should only bring peace, truth and relief (See Psalm 32:1-5). When you are sitting with God you are sitting in the presence of Love.
- Spending time with God is where you can get wisdom and strength for important decisions
God speaks in a lot of different ways. I am not going to tell you that if you ask God a question during your time in prayer that you will get the answer you are looking for right then and there. Sometimes you’ll get an answer to what you are praying for and sometimes you have to pray about it, leave it there and wait for an answer (See Psalm 40). Sometimes you may not get the answer you would like, much like when Jesus prayed in the garden before his crucifixion (Matthew 26:36-45). Either way, rest assured that you were heard. You are always heard. If you don’t get an answer right away, pray for wisdom and the ability to keep your mind open to how He wants to answer you. Remember, it will never go against his word. If you think you’ve heard otherwise, it’s not God. The more time you spend with him, the easier it will be to know the difference.
Listen, I know you may think that you have a lot to do and squeezing time in with God and his Word may not always come high on your priority list but let’s put this in perspective: Jesus constantly had crowds following him, walked this earth loved, hated, and misunderstood, all with the weight of knowing that he was born to sacrifice his life for a very fickle public due to his purpose. This is someone you may want to rock with. Often. Which brings me to my fourth and final point.
- Spending time with God will help you become more like Jesus
In John 14, Jesus is explaining to the disciples what his relationship with them will be like once he leaves earth. He says “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” How awesome is it to know that you can ask the Lord exactly how he would want you to handle a situation and to know that he will show you? Hebrews 4:15 says this about him,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Everything you need is in him but it is just like any other relationship. You have to make the time and be present.
If you know you are really busy but are trying to find time to spend alone with God, I can recommend a few things. Aside from following Jesus’ lead and taking authority of your time, I recommend getting a journal and a bible app on your phone (a lot of us spend so much time on our phones anyway.) Find a devotional or two (like this one or one on Bible.com. They have plenty). Think about the scriptures that you read in the devotional throughout the day, write them down and ask God what he wants to reveal to you through them. Putting this into practice can do so much for your journey and can help you stay on track.
I hope that seeing how even Jesus needed to take a time out often was really helpful for you guys. I want to extend this to you as well: if you are on the road and would like someone to pray for you, please email me. I have a list of people I pray for and would be more than happy to add you to it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.