Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? 2 Cor. 13:5 (NKJ)
At the beginning of each year, I take time to reflect on the lessons I have learned during the past year. Reflection, time given to consideration or serious thought, is a luxury we often deny ourselves. It has been said that self-reflection is the school of wisdom. Confucius described self-reflection as the noblest method by which we learn wisdom. I especially like the Apostle Paul’s directive on self-reflection to the church at Corinth—examine yourself. So I begin 2017 with this reflection—things I learned in 2016.
As input to this process I reviewed my daily journal, memorization cards, and the 2016 WordBytes topics. These three sources reflect my spiritual mind and the areas of focus that the Holy Spirit has directed my attention to. While my final list could expand to the last WordBytes of 2017, I have chosen those which I feel were most impactful to my learning and hopefully, added wisdom. Here is my “short list”.
God is “much more” than anything I can ever imagine. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Eph. 3:20) “More” (mallon) when added to verbs or adjectives denotes greater quantity, a larger measure, or a higher degree. Following are just a few examples of God’s “much more”:
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (greater quantity) (Rom. 5:20)
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (larger measure) (Rom. 5:9)
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (higher degree) (Heb. 9:14)
With the changes in local policies and the upheaval in national politics, I have found God extraordinarily capable of providing me “much more” than I have needed for the circumstance at hand (Ps. 62:5). In all my situations, as varied as they have been, whether in prayer for special healing or special intervention: in need of provision or protection: in time of praise or in need of His presence, God has shown Himself to be “much more” than I could have ever anticipated.
Pursuit of God’s kingdom is to be the guarded focus of my life. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33) The disciples didn’t fully understand what Jesus meant when He taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus continually reminded them to “keep their eye on the prize” (heaven) and on their “purpose” (preaching the Gospel). In spite of all our biblical teachings, women’s conferences, and TV evangelists, it is easy to become entangled with the things of this world—“the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1 John 2:16) These things promote “self” versus “Christ.” It is critical that I remember “this is not my home” and I am merely a “time traveler” on a mission until I am called to my eternal home (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet. 2:11).
Christ-like boldness is needed to address the changes of the 21st century. “And for me, that utterance may be given to me that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel…that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Eph. 6:19-20) Whether through the ministry or through WordBytes, I must boldly proclaim God as Sovereign Creator and Ruler of all life and Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior upon Whom I await His imminent return. Pursuit of God’s truth is critical in a postmodern society where there is no absolute truth. Therefore, denouncement of Scripture and its relevancy is to be expected (2 Tim. 4:3-5). Let me “be prepared in season and out of season to correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2, NIV). While we aren’t persecuted like our Christian brothers abroad, Christians in this country are daily being muffled by orchestrated cries of religious bigotry and intolerance. Christ has given me a voice, I am to use it.
A dear friend and ministry partner asked me this week, “What are you believing and depending on God to do for you in 2017?” Two powerful words emerged from her question—believing and depending. First, I believe that God is able to do exceedingly above all I can ask and think. And secondly, I will continue to depend on God to guide me into His perfect will. Lastly, I am believing and depending on God to take those things I have learned in 2016 and leverage them into teachings that strengthen women for the journey God has purposed for them in 2017 (Jer. 29:11-13).
Now it’s your turn. Scroll down to the “Leave a Reply” box and share what you have learned in 2016. It’s time for you to reflect and develop your “short list.”