Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
REFERENCES: MARK 1:35-45, PSALMS 119:147, LEVITICUS 13, 14
Where's your wilderness? Let’s go there. Now, before you run away and hide, bear with this thought a bit. Every day we travel from one location to the next to do all that we need to do. Whether it’s home, work, church, or a recreation site, we find the appropriate place. Why? Because where we go dictates the activity. Places matter, and in our spiritual lives, they matter just as much. This is where we find the importance of our wilderness. God will lead us to lonely places to cultivate and transform us. In Mark, we see Jesus in a solitary place seeking his Father. Jesus saw it important to be rooted, planted, and led by the Spirit. And so must we, so that there's not a moment wasted towards becoming who God has called us to be. Our wilderness need not represent a wasteland but rather an oasis of repentance, restoration, and fellowship with God. We may feel prompted to uproot our lives and move to a different city, different job, or different relationship status for a change, but simply swapping positions isn’t enough. Our transformation must be internal. We don’t want change by default, we want change by design.
Just because you changed your place doesn’t mean that you are in a place to change.
Concerned that people wanted to see Jesus, the disciples were driven by crowds. But Jesus wasn’t available because he was driven by his calling. We too are called to be driven by obedience and not outcomes. Our motivation should be the mission God placed on our hearts, not allowing praise or popularity distract us.
“Unclean, unclean!” the leper shouted. While battling a societal death sentence and the radical decision to get close to Jesus, the leper was willing to do what has never been done to get to a place that he had never been, clean. His vulnerability cost him nothing, but his faith brought him everything.
A change of physical scenery will not change us. The transformation we crave starts in our hearts. Remember, God is looking for servants who are obedient. We have to switch up the way we are seeking God in order to thrive in him. It is only in his presence, the long-awaited revamp begins. He is willing to help us flourish, but are we willing to go the loneliest of places to seek him? Although we’re all broken, beauty can be discovered in the messiness of humanity when we choose to never forget what God has restored. Let’s set down a place marker in remembrance of our change. The cross marks the spot. Jesus, the humble servant, always takes our place as an outcast. This is the good news we now get to shout about.
Tap into the power of solitude. Take time this week, be it one hour or one day, where you spend it intentionally alone in the presence of God seeking repentance, restoration, and fellowship with him.
Go deep into the Book of Mark together with us, we’re focusing on this gospel for the first half of the year. Don’t forget your Mark Journal. Purchase a hardcopy or download the free digital copy today.
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