Lean In

Summer is here! And I am very motivated this summer to keep my highly energetic boys busy! (Where they find their level of energy, I cannot begin to comprehend!)

So I recently took them out in our front yard to trim our plants, bushes, and trees. Fun, right?

Well, the boys actually had a blast as I trimmed and they raked and gathered the branches…placed them in the wheelbarrow…and dumped them curbside for our bulk trash pick-up that week.

As I trimmed plant after plant…bush after bush…tree after tree…I began to notice the branches had a tendency to lean in one particular direction. They were all actually leaning towards the sunlight.

I am sure that many of us are not surprised by this as we may have witnessed this with indoor plants that tend to lean in towards the light in the window.

Why do plants, bushes, and trees lean in towards sunlight?

This interesting phenomenon known as phototropism was explained by English naturalist Charles Darwin in the late 1800’s. He demonstrated that the growing shoot of a grass seedling always bends…leans in… towards light. Why?

Because green plants, bushes and trees make their food in the presence of sunlight by the process of photosynthesis. Feel like you’re getting taken back to grade school science class right now?!

Long story short…phototropism is a survival mechanism adopted by plants so that they can get as much light as possible. When plants lean in to sunlight…more photosynthesis can take place…allowing for more energy to be generated.

By leaning in toward the sunlight, plants draw closer to their source of power and energy so that they can receive the necessary nutrients to make food and grow. Without sunlight, they cannot survive.

Just as plants, bushes, and trees must lean in to sunlight for their power source to survive, we too as Christians, must lean in to Jesus as our power source…not just to survive…but to thrive in this world.

The word “survive” is defined as “to remain or continue to live; to endure or live through” while the word “thrive” is defined as “to grow or develop vigorously; flourish; prosper, advance, succeed.”

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to just survive…I want to thrive!

And so in order to not only survive, but also thrive as Christians, we must…not just believe and accept Jesus Christ in our lives…but also lean in to Jesus.

What does it actually mean to lean in to Jesus?

A great Biblical example of an individual who leaned in to Jesus is Mary…the “Mary” of the familiar Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42.

38-40As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

So to simply break this down… Jesus comes to visit these sisters…Mary and Martha…at their house. Martha welcomes Jesus inside, but then she is pulled away and becomes busy getting things in order. And out of frustration, Martha interrupts Jesus and complains that her sister Mary has abandoned her and that He needs to basically tell Mary to help her out. And Jesus’ response?

“Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

Hmm…Jesus sides with Mary in her choosing the one only essential thing…the main course.

In other words…Mary chose the most important thing…Mary chose what was best…Mary chose what was necessary.

While Martha was pulled away by busyness and preparations, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet drawing closer to Him… Mary was listening to Jesus…Mary was hanging on His every word… Mary was leaning in to Jesus.

She chose the main course! Jesus’ words were nutrients and food to her soul…His words were power and sustenance to her well-being…His words were vital to not only her survival, but also her ability to thrive.

Plants can only receive the necessary power that they need to survive by being in the presence of light…by leaning in to the sun.

And we too…as Christians…can only receive the necessary power that we need to survive by being in the presence of the Light…by leaning in to the Son…Jesus.

Mary experienced the presence of Jesus by leaning in to Him!

Are you leaning in to Jesus today?

Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?

What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?

Busyness…poor time management…a lack of prioritizing… a lack of discipline…maybe even a lack of desire can keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Unbelief…lack of faith…even disobedience can also keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Leaning in is really a choice.

Mary could have chosen to help Martha…but instead she chose what was essential…according to Jesus. She chose to lean in.

We too must choose whether we allow ourselves to be distracted or pulled away by people or the things in this world…or choose to draw closer to Jesus.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NLT

Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Psalm 34:8 MSG

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8 AMP

When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see the blessings and benefits of leaning in.

His Power

We will see and experience His power when we lean in. We don’t need to keep trying to do things on our own or in our own strength. He will give us the power to say “no” to the things in this world that keep us from Him and the power to survive, thrive, prosper and fulfill our purpose and destiny as Christians in this world.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2Peter1:3

His Provision

We will see and experience His provision when we lean in. He sees and knows everything we need and when we lean in and trust in Him…He will provide.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

His Protection

We will see and experience His protection when we lean in. When we feel weak, afraid or overwhelmed, He will protect us when we lean in.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4NLT

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2Thessalonians 3:3 NASB

His Passion

We will see and experience His passion when we lean in. We will understand the very heart of Jesus and what He is passionate about and what He truly desires when we lean in.

37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2Peter 3:9 NIV

If we can all see the importance of leaning in to Jesus on a daily basis…if we can all see the blessings of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all see the benefits of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all just see how our very life…our survival and growth…depends on Jesus and His Word…we would intentionally choose to spend time with Him!

We cannot live our lives as Christians if we do not lean in to Jesus. Just as a plant must lean in to the light of the sun for survival, so too we must lean in to the Light of the Son to survive and thrive as Christians.

Lean in today…what’s holding you back?

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you leaning in to Jesus today?
  2. Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?
  3. What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?
  4. What are the blessings and benefits of leaning in to Jesus?

 

Action Points:

  1. Examine your daily life and see what may be keeping you from leaning in to Jesus and experiencing His presence. Pray and ask God to show you what changes you can make to allow you to lean in more. Many of us have a desire to lean in to Jesus, but we lack the discipline to do it. Ask God to strengthen you to make the necessary changes.
  2. Leaning in to Jesus is essential for our survival as Christians. It isn’t enough for us to lean in just when are facing a challenge in our lives. Jesus wants us to draw close to Him in our lives…all day everyday…and in every detail of our life, not just when we go through tough times.
  3. Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.
  4. When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see His power…His provision…His protection…and His passion.
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