Monday is June first.
Only 5 short months ago did we shout “Happy New Year!” with plans to live 2015 well.
Now, we’re almost half way into this year that still feels new to me.
Do you like how you lived your first half?
How do you want to end the second?
In the quiet, secret place of just me and the Holy Spirit (and my journal) I’ve asked myself these questions coming up to this half way mark and penciled down my thoughts.
Because this year feels as if it’s pregnant with such purpose. It’s like it’s pulsing.
And I have to pay close attention because I don’t want to miss a thing.
If I can wrap up the first 5 months of life in 2015 into one word it’d be: challenged. Throughout life I have been blessed with a number of people who’ve challenged, pushed, and encouraged me. Living in a new country, belonging to a new church and carving out new relationships is opening up new opportunities to be challenged and changed. This is all good and right and as cliche as it is, I wouldn’t be who I am without the push and prod and love of a number of precious individuals.
But this year I’m challenged by something even more steadfast than these dear relationships.
I’m so challenged by the Word.
Let me explain.
Ever have an “Ouch” moment when you read the Bible? This year has been a bit more than just an “Ouch” moment.
It’s been “OH MY GOD, PLEASE HELP ME YOU’RE RIPPING MY HEART OUT” kind of moments…
I have consistently read the Bible for years now, ebbing and flowing with my dedication to a particular schedule. (Everyone needs to figure out what works for them. My suggestion? No matter what it looks like, Just get the Word into you. The end.) In some seasons of life it’s as if life is bursting out of certain scriptures and my heart is going to explode. I remember one night a few years ago, I wept for what seemed like hours over one single verse that the Holy Spirit brought to my attention in the perfect moment.
Be a rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
(Oh, has He ever.)
Then there were dark seasons. I would read and feel nothing. Dull. Dry.
And of course the in between seasons where I just simply read because I know that what I do today, I will live in the fruit of tomorrow.
This year, once again, has been a bit different.
I’m challenged like never before by the Word of God. In fact, I’ve landed for the last month or so on a few verses that I’ve been trying to memorize. Like a little kid, I say to my husband, “Want to hear me practice those verses?” And then there I go, rattling them off – messing up and start again – until I get it right while he listens. These verses are the ones that make me feel like my heart is being ripped out, like I said above. A bit dramatic? Yeah, probably. But I don’t care because I want to feel. I want to be impacted by the Word of God. I want it to be to me what is was to Paul in Hebrews 4:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The Word is alive so I want it to be alive in me.
It’s active so I want it to be active in me.
It penetrates so I want it to penetrate me.
It judges so I want it to judge me.
So, would you like to know what verses have been messing me up so much (and causing me great pain? )?
Here goes (Philippians 3:7-10):
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I. consider. everything. a. loss.
compared to the surpassing greatness…
….the exceeding worth…
of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.
On my way to work, while I’m cooking, off doing regular daily activities, these verses are – in every good way possible – haunting me. They’ve gotten into my mind and now have my heart. I want to live them.
Where have you met Him in the Word this year?
How is He messing you up this year? (In His gloriously amazing way, of course )
How are you being challenged?
What verse has gripped you this year?
What do you want for the next half of 2015?
I think it’s good to ask these questions and not give quick answers…but really think about it because we’re supposed to be moving and going forward. In fact, in next few verses, Paul says:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Here’s to living the next half of 2015 with moldable hearts, allowing God’s Word to penetrate, challenge, and change us, and pressing on toward the goal of accomplishing all that God has planned for us – all that would please Him – and ultimately toward the prize and precious treasure of seeing Him face to face one day. I can’t wait.