This is lovely sketch was made by artist Rebekah Leigh Marshall. I am found her work online. I’m fond of tandem bicycling…
I’m four months into my 57th trip around the sun. That is a sobering statement. Oddly it is also an invigorating challenge.
What new things can I learn to do? What old things can I make better? What about my character needs refining? What about my character needs sharing? Where are my gifts, talents and skills needed?
Those are some of questions I have pondered prior to the beginning of the New Year, 2014. And like most people I have lists: lists for groceries, projects, tasks, reading, writing to people; you name it. I probably have written a list. But this year isn’t about lists.
I’ve learned some things about myself in these many annual trips: I like some things to stay the same and I like to change some things. Unfortunately the things I’d like to stay the same are completely out of my influence to remain the same. (think children growing up and moving away). The things that I’d like to change and are completely within the realm of my influence to accomplish I have often not accomplished. blegh.
As I have pondered my lists and recognized my one very-within-reason-to-change character flaw, I chose the word for my change-it-up efforts for the year: Resolve. I explained my choice more fully here.
My firm commitment is not just to complete my lists. Or change a character trait. Although those are both great things to commit to accomplishing. No my firm commitment is to live out the words of Paul to the church at Corinth. Near the end of his letter he wrote this: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Now a casual reading might give the impression this about being stodgy and stiff; that you’re supposed to never change and never rest. And like most times when we take a verse of Scripture out of its context we can run the risk of misinterpreting what is there for us. So a brief interlude for a valuable point of history:
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth because they had started to live their lives like everyone else around them rather than following the teachings of Jesus as they had been shared by Paul. The church had the same values as the culture. Paul spent a lot of specific writing reminding the Christ followers what it means to actually follow Christ. And near the end of his letter he encourages them to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Knowing the context helps me to try to make sense for my own life of following along the Way. I need to break things down into little pieces that I can somewhat wrap my head around. So here’s what I’ve learned in looking at this verse and why I’ve ended up with the one word Resolve for my focus this year.
Steadfast is not a word we use in daily conversations. Why not? Maybe our culture doesn’t support a word like this; listen to the definitions: fixed in direction; a steadfast gaze. firm in purpose, resolution, faith; a steadfast friend. unwavering. What is steadfast in our culture?
Abounding is also another word lost to our regular speech. Too bad. It’s a cool word. It originates from Latin and means overflow, or run over.
So stitching these word meanings into this verse helps me see that as a Christ follower what I do in my life with the Lord (which is everything because He lives in me, in you if you name His name) isn’t wasted. It’s not in vain. I can be fixing my gaze on Christ, getting to know Him more and more, and overflow with what He shows me in His Word. So, how I live my life, how I speak to others, how I spend my time, how I show grace to those who hurt me, how I forgive and forgive and forgive again, is not just me going through the motions. It is God at work. Changing it up in me, making me look more like Jesus every day. WOW!
I need to get on His two seater bike and be in tandem with Him. And what a ride it has been so far; He promises the adventure of a lifetime!
He has promised many good things but most of all His abiding Presence. Life here does not get any better than living daily with the awareness of His very real Presence.
I resolve to be on the bike in Tandem with Jesus.
What are you changing up this year?
Please also visit Rebekah