“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step” (1 Peter 2:21 MSG).
The great crisis for the Christian is that commitment to Christ means an earnest desire to serve others—meeting real needs, and seeing the kingdom advance. Without careful attention to our vertical call in Christ, we can find ourselves consumed by the horizontal. The horizontal focus on even kingdom-centered work can lead to burnout and an unhealthy emphasis on our own efforts and work. Desiring to advance Christ’s kingdom, we instead can find ourselves building our own little kingdoms.
Jesus is the model of what it means to live a vertical life. Consider spending time to look at events in the life of Jesus in which He chose the vertical before the horizontal. He obviously did not ignore the physical and emotional needs of those around Him. It could be argued that no one ever met human needs as well as Jesus. But He maximized His horizontal impact by starting and staying vertical with His eyes firmly focused on His Father. Even though it meant significant suffering and rejection, He transformed the world around Him…and He calls us to follow in His steps.
Holy One, You have invited me to step into a difficult life…one that sometimes seems impossible to do well. Yet, I trust Your heart and know that You have plans to give me a wonderful hope and future as I walk out this journey by following the example You have set before me. Strengthen my desire for more of You, so that You are able to transform me by the renewing of my mind. Then, my horizontal activity will be well-informed by my deepened relationship with You and done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Teach me how to keep my eyes fixed upon the Father.
–Adapted from Vertical with Jesus: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living by David and Kim Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise Jesus, who welcomes the weary. Thank him for lifted burdens (Mt. 11:25-30). Confess that the way you fill your days often ignores Jesus’ offer of rest. Commit to enjoying this rest yourself and sharing it with others. Ask God for a specific way you can eliminate something from your schedule in order to create time for resting in the Lord.
Pray that Christians will multiply God’s infinite mercy by befriending people with disabilities, helping released prisoners find work, and sheltering refugees.
“No time is so well spent in every day as that which we spend upon our knees.” J. C. Ryle
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.