I have dear friends, that follow Jesus, who have consistently asked God to give them a ‘Word’ to focus on for their year, and they suggested my doing so. I have done New Years Resolutions tons of times, but never a ‘word’ for the year. I thought, what a cool idea. So I went to God in prayer, and asked Him for my #WORD2014. In my head, I quickly heard ABIDE. That word made sense; it resonated with what God has already been showing me this past fall. But honestly, I wasn’t thrilled with it. To me, it didn’t seem zippy enough. But I kept it and in my heart said to God, “Okay, I’ll continue to pray about this word in the coming days to see if by chance You want to change it for something a little more snappy.” Then a few days after that, I received an email from the You Version Bible suggesting to ask God to give you a #VERSE2014 to focus on for the year. I really liked that idea of having a verse and a word for the year. I began praying…Lord, what verse would you want my focus to be for 2014? I didn’t hear anything in that time of prayer. However, shortly thereafter, I received an email from a dear pastor’s wife at our church. She and I were part of an “Encouragement” email chain where you send a verse to a person. She sent me a passage of scripture that leapt off the page at me. I LOVED it, and I felt like God was saying, “This is your passage for the year, now prayerfully consider which verse should be your one verse.”
Sadly, my prayer focus changed in the next days, as they were surrounding my sweet Grandmother and her passing. Praise God, she knew Jesus and is now with Him for eternity! Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to God again and ask Him for confirmations on my word and verse for 2014. I went to the Lord honestly, and said, “Lord, why am I fighting You about this word, ABIDE? Please confirm to me that it’s the ‘word’ you want for me.” I proceeded to do my daily Bible reading plan, which had me read Psalm 12. Verse 6 leapt off the page for me: The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. I humbly read this verse and said, “Yes, Lord, Your words are pure and since You’ve given me the word ABIDE, so be it.” I was floored by God’s quick answer. I felt that experience was certainly blog worthy. I thought it would be handy to put Word Press on my phone, so I quickly downloaded and proceeded to just read over the titles of my previous posts. Imagine my AMAZEMENT when I found the below post (I’ve made no edits to it). It was a post I wrote in the Summer of 2010 and it was about the VERY SAME PASSAGE that my friend had given me and I highlighted verse 3, which I felt that God was saying was my #VERSE2014. God had already given me this passage! No wonder it resonated with me so. The other amazing thing God showed me was that shortly after that post in 2010, I was ‘derailed’ for a good season of time. You can see it in the following blogs after August 10, 2010.
It’s always been God’s desire for me to experience the FRUITS of this passage. He’s always wanted me to have this kind of HARVEST in my life. He was saying to me yesterday morning, “As you ABIDE, Raquel, you will have this kind of FRUIT in your life. Now live this out, not by ‘DO-ing’ these things but by ABIDING and ‘BE-ing’ in my presence.” Below is that original post from 2010. My #VERSE2014 is 2 Peter 1:3 and my #WORD2014 is ABIDE!
3-4Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
5-9So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
10-11So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-11, The Message)
Wow…this scripture passage challenges me, excites me, motivates me, and affects me on so many levels. But I think the main truth that “pops out at me” for such a time as this is from verse 3: Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us.
Really? EVERYTHING that I need to please God has been miraculously given to me from God. Then why do I whine so much about “trying to please Him” in all aspects of my life? Why do I even think that it has anything to do with me, when really it has EVERYTHING to do with Him? Maybe if I started banking on the promises that it is God in me who helps me to live this life in a honoring and pleasing way unto Him, I would not struggle so much with “trying to please Him” in my strength. Living the Christian life, for me has been one that, quite frankly, is difficult to surrender to God’s direction. I want to do this Christian life. And scary thing, I’ve been this way since I started walking with God. I remember being a little Jr. High student bawling my eyes out because I didn’t fully understanding God and His life for me. God blessed me with a sweet teacher to talk to me. She was my Jr. High cheerleading sponsor, Mrs. Baker who lovingly and wisely explained: Raquel walking with God is a daily thing, and little by little He’ll reveal more of Himself to you. And, no you’re not going to “get everything and understand everything” right away. The Christian life is a process, and one that is largely directed by God and His revelation to you. In His time, you’ll understand more and more about Him and the way to live this life He’s called you to.
That was life-giving and removed a lot of the pressure from me. It removed the anxiety and worry over me “making something happen” in me. I have never forgotten that conversation and that was at least twenty years ago. She was explaining the truths from the 1 Peter that I quoted above.
So now let me share with you the promise and truth from God’s word, the Bible. Don’t get all hung up “trying to please God”…you’ve got everything you need to do that. And don’t put off adding to what God has already so richly blessed us with – “everything that goes into a life of pleasing God.”