Well as many of you know this has been a very eventful and life changing year! I am at a place in my life that I would have never dreamed up a year ago! God has taught me many things throughout this year but there are few that stand out the most!
1st: Life is not about me! It’s about JESUS!
Believe it or not we as humans were not created to be happy. We were not created to make the most money, have the most beautiful love story, or get the highest degree attainable. We were created for one purpose: to glorify the Lord! (Isaiah 43.7: “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”) The Bible doesn’t leave open for debate but is very clear. Now with that being said, there is joy and satisfaction and fulfillment in doing what we were made to do. I like to put it this way, if you seek happiness, you will not find it, but if you seek the Lord you will find JOY and joy is not limited to circumstances!
2nd: For Him to be 1st I must be 2nd!
We can not put ourselves before God and still make Him 1st. For years I have “tried” to make God first but it wasn’t til this year that God finally opened my eyes to show me that I had been putting my wants, goals, and dreams above His. Jesus is clear that we must deny oursleves. (Mark 8.34-35 “If anyone would come after me, let him DENY himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospels will save it.”)
Deny: to refuse to grant, to restrain from gratification of desires.
We also are called to put Jesus before our responsibilities and expectations. Sometimes it’s easier for me to put Him before my wants than to put Him before my expecations. In Luke 9, there is a man who wanted to follow Jesus but bury his father first and another who wants to say farewell to their family first but Jesus says in v.62 “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” I don’t think Jesus meant this out of disrespect to family. It is obvious is all of the Bible’s teachings that family is of high importance but Jesus was showing that HE is more important than family, responsibilities, and expectations. Putting Him 1st is still something I am striving to learn each and every day. I know it is only by His strength and his grace that I can do anything that gives Him glory. (2 Cor. 3.5)
3rd: Often times the path God has for us does not match what culture expects as goals or success.
Do not get me wrong, I think God has plans for people to have all different occupations and I by no means think I have to be in full time ministry to glorify the Lord. I do believe though that God desires for us to be different and set apart. Sometimes that means we will not get the degree that is expected of us or pursue the career that seems the most successful! It will often go against the flow of what everyone else is doing! (Matt. 7.13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few!”)
So what’s the plan for 22??? On this new journey God is taking me on, I want to spend every day seeking to make my life about Christ and put HIM first instead of me knowing that most of the time this will not be pleasing to the world we live in! I don’t have the strenght to do this on my own but I also know that “I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me!”- Phil 4.13
With that my theme verse for the year of 22 is going to be Galatians 2.20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!”