Are You Living a Life That Is
Vertical with Jesus?
Would you like to know what this means?
And how to get started?
David and Kim Butts, leaders of America’s National Prayer Committee and the national training organization Harvest Prayer Ministries recently wrote another book that answers both questions—and more!
Vertical with Jesus:
A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living
It offers thirty meditations filled with rich insights and helpful steps.
In this blog post, I want to share with you the introduction from their book to give you a taste of what it offers.
I’ve known Dave and Kim for decades. I can assure you that daily they live the kind of adventure they call us into through this book, Vertical with Jesus.
In Colossians 3, Paul urges every believer to “set your affections on things above”—to let the pursuit of Christ and his active reign today become the driving force in all we do. In other words, we’re to live vertically!
So, why not set aside the month of November, or any month—just 30 days—to join Dave and Kim on a refreshing odyssey with Jesus learning what it means to refocus on “things above” where he rules supreme. What follows is the introduction taken from their book.
Life is horizontal! It is consumed with things, ideas, people, and events around us—including those things that are within us.
We tend to focus on that which engages the senses, whether touch, taste, sight, sound, or smell. This is natural and normal.
However, our spiritual focus is damaged and incomplete when we make life all about the horizontal (us and our “doing”) and ignore the vertical (relationship with God—our “being”).
In a very real sense, the message of the Bible is “Look up!” There is something beyond the horizontal. What you see around you may be good or bad, but that’s not all there is.
Going vertical rescues our lives from the dangers of irrelevance, self-centeredness, and terminal weariness.
Though this is true for all of life, it can be especially critical for kingdom living.
Foundationally, Christians are people who have accepted Christ’s call to a vertical lifestyle. We are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness before being concerned with the horizontal around us—allowing God to add everything else that is needed.
Followers of Jesus often get so busy doing the work of the kingdom that they forget to obey the command in Hebrews to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (12:2). A vertical lifestyle informs, empowers, and makes our horizontal work and activity more effective, for it is Jesus-focused.
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.
A horizontal focus on even kingdom-centered work can lead to burnout and an unhealthy emphasis on our own efforts and work. Although 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.
In the daily devotions that follow [in the book], we look to 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. He calls us to follow in His steps:
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).
Dave and Kim Butts from the introduction to Vertical with Jesus: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living.
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com.
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