As December progressed I began to meditate upon a word for 2016. Last year, my word was ADORATION. I’ve loved taking a few moments at the beginning of a day reflecting on a characteristic of God.1
Over the past couple of years I’ve felt the Lord calling me to want more of Him. So much of my life had become ‘me-focused’; even my devotional time would be spent on building me up. Fears and anxiety had dominated too much of my thinking in recent years: fears of illness, unemployability and so on have filled many a session with my counselor plus anxiety over a bevy of stuff. This was what my wife and sons were seeing: the fearful and anxious husband and father. How was I demonstrating the love and power of having Jesus as my Lord?
As my pastor said only yesterday in his message: “the number one scheme of the devil is to throw fear at you. He wants to hinder your purpose.” But God's love has no fear.
But through soaking in Scripture I’ve begun, slowly, to believe the many promises in it. We really are His chosen people. Yes, God, the creator of everything, chose me. And you! And guess what we’re holy and dearly beloved.2 By Him! It still kinda blows my mind.
So staying on a word that helps me keep focused on Him kept percolating in my heart. One of the books sitting next to my table is titled “Awe” by Paul David Tripp. So for a week or two I bounced that one around in my mind. It clicked in my mind but something in my heart was holding back from adopting 'Awe' as my word for the year. BTW, I’ve read the first few chapters of “Awe” and it’s tremendous. BTW No 2., I love everything Paul Tripp writes. His thoughts on grace and sin are brilliant.
The New Year
January 1 came around and I’ve started working through Tim Keller’s new book on the Psalms. It’s a year long devotional where each psalm is covered. So January 1 starts with Psalm 1.
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)
Blessed are those who delight in the Word, so much so they meditate on it day and night. They don’t just obey it, but love it. It’s in the loving it, that we obey it.
My mind immediately went to another one of my favourite verses on “delight”, yes, you’ve guessed it:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
For years I reflected on the second half of that verse until it dawned on me that to realise the second half you gotta do the first half.
Hmmm … delighting.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus was able to resist temptation? He was fully human and we’re told He faced all the same temptations we do?
I have. Often. And have often asked Him.
On Sunday the third of January I was out walking and I reflected on this once again and asked Him. Then it hit me.
The reason Jesus was able to resist temptation was that communing with the Father was that much better! He spent so much time with the Father, they delighted in each other. There was a ‘knowing’ that was so much better than anything … yes, anything, that the world could offer.
That kinda blew my mind.
And that’s what I want!
“When we live with an intense love for Him, we find our delight in fulfilling His desires.” (John Bevere)
Sorry for dragging this post out but I wanted to share the process and reflections I’d had to discover my word for 2016 – DELIGHT.
Do you have a word for the year? Don’t worry if you don’t. It’s a relatively new thing for me as up until about three years ago I’d never heard of the idea. But I like it especially as I try to start everyday doing something in relation to it. It provides a focus for my day. It can really set the day up.
I know some shared their words last week, but it would be great if we shared them. Also, please feel comfortable to share any further reflections on last week and how it might have helped shape your year. Even just a little.
Do you mind if I pray for us all:
Heavenly Father, your love is better than life so we praise you with our lips. We love you, we worship you, and we give our lives to you again this week. We desire the same communion that Jesus had with you here on earth. The knowing, the intimacy, the companionship. We declare that we are one with you, just as Jesus is one with you. Holy Spirit, lead us as we pray each day and fill our hearts afresh with the love of the Father. May your love flow abundantly through us in our homes. Help us to love our spouses as you love us. Open their hearts to your great love for them. We give you all the glory and all the honour. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Notes: 1. I found Sara Hagerty’s monthly adoration verses especially useful last year. One verse that focuses on a characteristic of God’s nature. 2. Colossians 3:12