I am so excited about this new year. As I’ve reflected back on all the Lord has done in 2013 my mind is filled with all the abundant blessings, the ways He has refined and sanctified us, the ways we have seen Him work in the lives of family and friends, and the ways we’ve seen His goodness in providing for us and guiding us through each day. The beauty of His grace and the depth of His love overflowed in it all. He is such a good God. A good God. And, oh, what beauty and joy are found in life when I live in that truth, trusting my good God, laying my burdens and sins at His feet knowing that He will sanctify me and do with me what is best for my heart and what gives Him the most glory. I’m overwhelmed, friends, at all He has done in my heart this past year. What kindness, what mercy, what abundant love does my glorious God possess! All these things bring great excitement to me as I anticipate the new year, anxious to see what the Lord has planned and what He will continue to do in my life and in the life of my little family.
As I have been praying and thinking through this upcoming year, I have decided to try a little project that I’ve seen many other people do and I think could be a sweet help to me as I go through the days of 2014. I am picking a word for the year. A word that I can see or think of and instantly be reminded of the many areas in which I desire to grow and be sanctified. This will serve as a good, daily reminder to be faithfully lifting those areas up to the Lord in prayer, be diligently filling my mind with the truth of His Word regarding those specific sins and struggles, and be aggressively fighting temptations that will rise up.
The word I have chosen is —- Love. Throughout this past year, I have grown in a greater understanding, awe, and gratitude for God’s love. I will never fully comprehend the height and depth of God’s love, but what a gift of His grace it is to see it more clearly as He becomes greater in my life. I have learned to become more aware of His love and how He loves. As the depth of my sin and my great need for His grace has become more clear to me, I have grown more amazed at the fact that He sent His Son to die for me because He loved me so much. That is staggering. The greatest picture of love this world has ever known.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12
And I am called to love like this! I want to be faithful to pursue love — to love as He loves. To love His people. To love His church. To love His Word. To love His gospel. To love Him. Growing in love for the Lord and His people isn’t just something that I’m doing to be a better person. It is something I am doing because I want to be obedient to that calling on my life! He has commanded me to love. “And he answered, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) God has called me to this and as I seek to be obedient to Him, He will be faithful to do His work in me.
The many areas of my life in which I see my sin so clearly are areas that will be changed as I grow in love for my Lord and love for His people:
- Prideful fear of man
- Selfishness in my relationships – with Jas, with AK, with family, with friends
- Fear of speaking truth into people’s lives
- Areas of discontentment
- Selfishness in giving – time, money, possessions
- Fear of being “uncomfortable” – situations, lifestyle, sharing the gospel
- (There are many more)
A greater love for the Lord will grow into a greater love for His people, His Word, and His glory, and these areas of sinful thought and behavior will begin to be sanctified. I want to love as He loves. I want to faithfully live out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
As these thoughts have been whirling around in my mind lately and I’ve been praying through them, I came across the blog post: Your Most Courageous Resolution for 2014 — by Jon Bloom. Yeah, that was pretty cool. What an encouragement and challenge it was to read that. To spur me on as I enter this new year. I pray that I will make love my aim in the coming year. That I will love well. That I will, through God’s grace and love for me, love as He does.