2012: A Year to ________________ ?
For those of us who love the art of arranging words in a way that is expressive, purposeful, and brings value to others, how can one possibly narrow their life-focus for the coming year down to just ONE word?
That was my thought when I joined the one-word-challenge presented by fellow-blogger, Bonnie Gray @FaithBarista. (Stop by her cyber java-blog shop to read the words of fellow God-seekers and join in on the one-word party. I’m glad I did and I know you will be glad you did too).
My ONE word for 2012 is ‘OFFER‘.
Delightful. Cultivate. Confident. Rescue.
These are just a few ONE-word postings from fellow bloggers who have decided to build their year around a ONE-word theme.
I chose the word ‘offer’last week after spending time reading Romans 12. This passage spoke to me on so many levels, but it was the word OFFER that seemed to jump off the pages and into my God-seeking lap.
Because God is real, and relational, and relentlessly in pursuit of my heart [and yours], it seemed, at the time I read these few verses (and still does), as though the Holy Spirit had/has something in mind for me by bringing this passage front and center.
“And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to OFFER [give] your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them [your lives] be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable.”
Paul seems to emphasize this even more when he adds:
“This is truly the way to worship him.” As if to say…
“If you want to know the true way to worship God…this is it friends!”
His pleadings indicate something of great value…
…that we should not pass over too quickly.
So what does it look like to have a life , a career, a family, that God finds acceptable? That pleases him? That makes him smile like a proud dad?
I think I know what it does not look like:
It’s not… ‘going to church’; or trying to ‘be a good person’; it’s certainly not ‘singing well written lyrics’ or reciting various prayers and Bible verses with a disengaged heart; nor does it entail ‘busying ourselves’ with various church/ministry activities as someone who feels compelled to do something FOR God or living a life of ‘behavioral-Christianity’ which focuses more on outward actions rather than from
a relational, inward journey of the heart;
and I am quite certain that the life that please God cannot be accomplished when pride and self-sufficiency are the characteristics that describe the condition of our heart.
Paul, like an older brother looking out for his younger siblings, helps us to NOT get caught up in the above when he urges his fellow God-following relatives again by saying:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world [which is by nature selfish and often corrupt and generally moves in opposition to the ways of God], but LET GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you THINK!
Then [and only then] will you learn to know God’s will for you, which is GOOD and PLEASING and PERFECT” (brackets and caps mine for emphasis; verses 1,2).
How can we become all that God made us to be? The answer lies in the phrase…
…because of all he has done for you!
So, as we settle into the new year, would you join me in asking a few questions of ourselves?
- How well do I correlate a grateful heart with pleasing God?
- Am I stepping into 2012 confident that God has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for me? And because God is good and has a God-honoring plan for my life…
- And, am I willing to joyfully, willingly and obediently allow him to reshape the way I THINK so that my thinking is better aligned with the way he thinks?
I’m grateful that these passages are framed by some very important foundational truths that stem from a grateful heart. Not merely because of all that God has done FOR us, but for WHO he is that he would love us with such relentless steadfast fervor and passion.
The questions we wrestle with in regard to our ambitions to live a better life in 2012 should not be:
- What do I need to do to become a better Christian? A better me? A better communicator? or
- How can I bring my body and all of its impulses and world temptations under more self-control? or
- What can I sacrifice/do for others that will make God love me more?
The answer is not what we must do friend, but in what has already been done for us. Let’s live God-honoring grateful lives in 2012 and enjoy The Journey Within and allow God to do a deeper work in our hearts so that when he hold up his mirror to our hearts, we look less like us and more like him!
Until the next time, feel free to share your ONE-Word here or @ FaithBarista.com!