Jesus, at the onset of His public ministry, chose twelve men “that they should be with Him.” From Him, they “caught” and were taught lessons on discipleship, future world end-time events, doctrinal matters concerning the Church-age, and the future phases of His kingdom on earth and beyond. We marvel—as we walk with them from page to page, place to place, through scriptures—at the rare opportunities these chosen disciples experienced up close, first-hand. But then we listen in on that Upper Room discourse of Jesus, when He explained to these men that it was expedient for them that He should soon be departing (i.e., the cross, entombment, resurrection, and ascension back to Heaven) because, after He departed, He would send the Holy Spirit to be “with them and in them.” We read in Acts 2 how that promise was fulfilled and learn through the book of Acts—and then the epistles—that every believer in this age is in dwelt by the Holy Spirit of God.
What an incredible privilege—even greater than the Twelve had known as they followed Jesus during His public ministry on earth! To be ever indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, the second member of the triune Godhead! There is never a moment that He is not with you as a Comforter, Teacher, Guide. It is through and by the Holy Spirit that we have access to God the Father and His Son, our Intercessor, Jesus Christ. We can and should, therefore, experience daily fellowship with our Lord and Savior.
Andrew Murray, in “God’s Best Secrets,” wrote: “There is one lesson that all young Christians should learn, namely this—the absolute necessity of fellowship with Jesus each day…Many Christians backslide because this truth is not clearly taught.”
Mary Helen Anderson put it this way: “We mutter and sputter; we fume and we spurt; We mumble and grumble, our feelings get hurt; We can’t understand things, our vision grows dim—when all that we need is a moment with Him!”
Some who read this may remember, from decades ago, the “Haven of Rest” hour that originated from California. Remember First Mate Bob? Well, here is his admonition concerning the believer’s need for fellowship daily with the Lord Jesus: “If we could learn this lesson, that it isn’t what we do, but Jesus longs for fellowship with even me and you. Oh, let us not be turned away, from this communion sweet, and never get too busy just to sit at Jesus’ feet.” Good counsel, First Mate Bob!
Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., once shared this: “I remember one time, when my son was just a little fellow and I had been away from home, Mrs. Jones said to me, ‘I can’t control him. He is just unmanageable. When bedtime comes, you must not kiss him good night.’ ‘All right,’ I said. So, I played with him all I could during the day. That night he put on his nighties and stuck his little cherub face through a crack in the door. He said, ‘Good night, Mother; good night, Daddy.’ We said, ‘Good night.’ Then I heard him crying in there as he said his prayers. I never shall forget it. He said, ‘I’m sorry I was a bad boy, Jesus. I don’t know what makes me bad. I am sorry I didn’t mind Mother. Daddy is just home, and I was a bad boy the first day he was here. I am sorry!’ I sat there and cried. I couldn’t go to sleep to save my life.
“About two o’clock in the morning I eased out of our room (Mrs. Jones was sound asleep) and eased into his room. His little bed was near the window and the moonlight was shining on his face. I got down by his bed and watched him. Every once in a while he would sob. After a while I reached over and kissed him all I wanted to. As I knelt there that night, I looked through my blinding tears to the sky toward God. I said, ‘God, you are my Father. Does it hurt You like this when I am out of fellowship? Do You feel bad like I do? My son can sleep, but I cannot sleep.’”
David declared, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord, in the morning I will direct it to You.” (Ps.5:3) That is a holy habit that it would be well to cultivate—if not in the morning, then at some regularly appointed time during the day. In the 19th century, a young Christian man determined to do just that, writing, “I do promise God that I will rise early every morning to have a few minutes—not less than five—in private prayer. I will endeavor to conduct myself as a humble, meek and zealous follower of Jesus, and by serious witness and warning I will try to lead others to think of the needs of their immortal souls. I hereby vow to read no less than four chapters in God’s Word every day. I will cultivate a spirit of self-denial, and will yield myself a prisoner of love to the Redeemer of the world.” (William Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army)
Mark, in his Gospel, notes that Jesus “ordained twelve, that they should be with Him.” (Mark 3:14) It was as Mark would explain, “that He might send them forth to preach.” He has a job for each of us to do, and, as a member of His Body we are to exercise the spiritual gift that each of us has received from the Holy Spirit. (I Pet.4:10) Also, like the Twelve, we have been commissioned to “Go…teach all nations.” (Matt.28:20) What an assignment! We can only succeed if we prioritize our daily devotion with our Lord. We must have His guidance, His wisdom, His power (Acts 1:8), His enabling and sustaining grace. We are engaged in spiritual warfare. We are men and women who, though our inner man is “renewed from day to day,” (2 Cor.4:16) are not yet fully conformed to His image, nor will we be until we “shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:1,2) So, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, let us retreat daily into His blessed presence, one on One, with Him, being changed as we do “into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1,2)