I love lines in the sand like New Years. Coming out of a full season of Advent & Christmas, we get to reset, relook at things. Things like, budgets, health, work, family priorities, goals & dreams.
One skim through Instagram or Facebook photos/posts and you’ll see people’s notebooks out, writing down their goals, writing down their prayers. In essence, what we’re doing is deciding to, and then hoping that, we can accomplish certain things, arrive at certain places, grow in certain areas, and impact those around us.
One very helpful tweet from this week’s plethora of them was this…
“A goal without a workable plan and the support of others is just good intention in disguise”
In Ephesians 3, Paul gives us a goal, and workable plan to get to that goal.
He says in verse 18&19…
…may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
How do we get to that end? (16&17)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Paul’s workable plan?
– Get your inner being strong
– Allow Christ to dwell in you
– Be rooted & established in Love
Let’s focus on the last one: Rooted & Established
- Both of these words reflect a certain kind of action that involves going deeper than just the surface that we’re used to
- We are to plant deep roots in God’s love
- We are to build a strong foundation in God’s love
Planting & Building are hard work; the kind of work that leads to accomplished goals.
Planting = Fruit
Building = Structure
Prayer/Reflection over these verses…
Where are you planting deep roots this year?
Will you take steps to dig deep and plant roots in God’s love?
Will you do the hard foundational work of building on God’s promises, on Kingdom values, on the ways of Jesus?
– – – – – – –
The New Year often encourages us to pray and ask that God to be in control of our out of control lives. Our prayers narrow in on the everyday things in life that are both profound, and also difficult to deal with.
It we’re not careful, we miss the everyday miracles happen in front of our eyes: Kids, Relationships, a successful work day, etc. On the other hand, if we’re not careful, we’ll let the difficult things overwhelm us, forgetting that God is with us every step of the way…every moment in our life.
It would be nice if life was like Christmas Holidays…no time constraints, liaises-fair attitude, you don’t have to answer to anyone, very chill and restful.
But…that’s not our everyday is it? Our everyday consists of…
- Cleaning up
- Making lunched
- Being ‘ON’ for work
- Dealing with a good or bad boss
- Getting tired with tasks at hand
- Trying to be disciplined, failing because of our lack of discipline
- And so on…
We look to Paul again – this time in Romans 12. (msg)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
What a way to start 2019: God? Here it is. My life. Everything in it. Every part of it. My fears, my anxieties, my hopes, my dreams, my confidence and my doubt. I surrender it all to you.
As I surrender, I also EMBRACE all that God does for me. God’s best for me.
These seeds of surrender & embrace lead to something so beautiful: Living a life that is not stuck to or pressured by the culture around me. Notice Paul’s encouragement and challenge:
- don’t be well adjusted to culture (the message)
- don’t get squeezed into it’s shape (N.T. Wright)
- don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world (NIV)
Instead, live God’s best life for you!!!
God’s best for me, really is the best for me!
To live God’s best for me/you, we have to answer these questions…
What do I have to let go of this year?
What do I have to embrace this year?
– – – – – – –
(closing prayer from Sunday)
God, we pray for an impactful 2019…
We invite your Spirit to strengthen our inner being…and as your Spirit works in us…
May we continue to plant ourselves deeper and deeper in Jesus
May we continue to become people who abound in love
May we take steps in our faith that we’ve yet to take
May those steps impact our families, our neighbourhoods, our vocations and jobs, and yes, our church community.
As we surrender to you…May we discover your best for our lives, in every ordinary, and extraordinary thing that we do.
On the good days, may we thank you
On the bad days, may we rely on you
In all 365 days, may we simply be aware of your presence in our lives, in our homes, in our church.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)