I sit here at the tail end of a cold, head pressure filled, mouth dry, teeth oddly achy, nose plugged (and yet miraculously runny at the same time).
Laying in bed no longer felt good, so I made some coffee and cleared some space at the table for time with God. I open the Bible randomly and this is what pops out at me:
“Comfort, comfort my people… in the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord… and the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all the people will see it together.” ~Isaiah 40:1-5ish
January 1 feels a bit like a wilderness to me. For once I have no resolution list, bucket list, to do list, to fix, to start, to stop list… I’m standing in front of the forest of 2016 dumbfounded. What should I do in 2016? I don’t want another year to just fly by. I want to make it count. I want it to be significant, though I have no idea what I really mean when I use that word.
“…in the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord.” What if 2016 was the year I followed God throughout the day? More than clearing a little space for God in my life. This is not about random pockets of time set aside in the morning. This is about incorporating him into every aspect of my life so that he is constantly beside me, out in the open, guiding my choices, my actions, my time.
But why walk with God? Why make Him my resolution list instead of what I want to do? It’s my life, I should do what I want! Right?
Wrong. This life is not about me. He created me (I did not create myself), so the purpose for my life comes from Him. Which means I don’t have to sit and stew and try to figure it out. So often we try to over complicate things. We create “what if” scenarios, “yeah but” scenarios, all because we’re not fond of the consequences or way it makes us feel. But Jesus made it simple, “Love God. Love others.” No qualifications, no stipulations, no disclaimers, no asterisks, no footnotes, no back out clauses.
“And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all the people will see it together.” ~Isaiah 40:5
Some people aren’t sure if God exists. Maybe it’s because they don’t see him or experience him. That’s my fault. It’s my responsibility to live my life and treat everyone in ways that point back to a loving and giving God. When I say that I am a Christian, I am declaring I am God’s hands and feet and microphone. The words I say, the opinions I share, the way I use my time, the actions I choose to take… they should all point back to God. If you say that you are a Christian, what are your words and actions pointing to? If we point in the same direction, then all the people will see it together.
So how do we do that practically speaking? How do we follow God? We love each other. Love… in the practical, verb, action, selfless way. Not the fleeting, feeling, or keeping score “only because you earned it” kind of way.
I will love you because God loves you. That doesn’t diminish our relationship, it multiplies it. Because God constantly forgives me, I will always forgive you, even if you don’t say sorry. Because God takes care of me I will do my best to take care of you, even if its not convenient. Because God loved me even when I was defiant, distant and combative, I will love you if you are ever the same. I will love you when you don’t understand. When you can’t do something. When you can’t stop something. When you say hurtful things on the Internet.
I will do a better job of loving you because the source of my love is not based on how I feel. Feelings change. God is constant. I take so much comfort in that.
As I type, my phone buzzes with a notification, a daily bible verse. Apparently God has a sense of humor or knows I love a good “coincidence”.
“Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” ~Isaiah 43:19
I welcome the wilderness of 2016. The year I let God do new things through me. That means I will make tough choices. I will be more selective with my words. I will walk away from things that distract me or don’t make me better. I will love more. I will invite God into my habits (which will likely change them), my work, my friendships, my writing, my laughter, my quiet time, my busy time, my all the time.
A life lived for God is significant. And I can only hope that as I resolve to more consistently follow God and love others in 2016 “all the people will see [the Glory of the Lord] together.”
God Bless, and may 2016 be the year you truly feel loved.