We all have the same amount of weeks. Our calendars fill up and we get pulled in a million different directions. We end up at the end of every year wishing we were better than we were. We look back on unaccomplished resolutions. We look at what we would have done differently and resolve to do better. As Christians we say that maybe we’ll pray more, or go to church more.
I’m a pastor, by call and by vocation.
My 52 weeks are filled with helping to lead others to realize and reach their full potential in Jesus.
My job is to help people discover and walk with Jesus.
Yet, some weeks I feel like I’m in a hamster wheel.
Someone might ask me “How to I grow in my connection to God?” I give them some ideas about spiritual disciplines and pursuing Jesus and they come back a month later asking me the same questions.
The root of this question of connection causes me to ask another, “Are you interested in pleasing God or having God pleased with you?” At this point I’m reminded that God is not interested in my works. There is no number of prayers I can pray nor acts of good service I can complete that will cause God to love me more. His love is unconditional.
John Piper once said, “God is most please with man, when man is most satisfied in Him.” So the question of connection to God must start at the beginning, knowing God. How do we know God? Through the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us.
52 Weeks With Jesus by Dr. James Merritt is a year long devotional study in understanding who Jesus is. The more we understand about who Jesus is the more we can focus our lives around Him. When we focus our lives around Jesus we won’t get lost in religion, dogma, or vain practices of repetitive prayers and bible readings that do nothing for us if all we are trying to do is better ourselves. Jesus accepts us as we are. As we grow to know Jesus our practices of worship grow in focus of lifting up Jesus and focusing on Jesus. Without Jesus we’re just wasting our time. So it makes sense that we begin with him.
I’ve read many devotional resources and have participated in many practices of worship to try and grow in Christ. These things in themselves are not bad. When they take place of or lose focus of Jesus – they lose why they existed to begin with. 52 Weeks With Jesus helps the reader to truly focus in on the many aspects of Jesus and supplies the reader with practical prayers and applications to think on throughout the week.
Everything comes back to Jesus. When Christianity has lost it’s way, when Sunday services lose their excitement, when we feel like we’re running in circles… it does us good to pause and refocus on Jesus. He is the “author and perfecter of our faith.”