Friday, December 29, 2017


Okay, as we continue this New Year theme, the obvious question becomes how do we track our progress. Because the truth is, we are all still five-year-olds on the inside and we want sticker charts that aren't missing any stickers.

First, we have to address our imperfection. We can all seem to quote that His mercies are new every morning and desperately want the next day to dawn. We do something off-track early in the day, figure the day is lost, and just proceed down that same course until tomorrow comes. But what if we looked at morning differently? What if instead of thinking of it as 7:00 AM when the sun is rising, we look at morning as a figurative awakening to see.....oh, shouldn't have done that....and then start over, now.

Second, instead of looking for just for measurable progress, we have to look at what are typically called non-scale victories. If you are trying to lose weight, a non-scale victory is something that has nothing to do with the number on the digital display. It's hearing a comment about your appearnce, what you are about to consume, or knowing it's okay to eat dinner at 6:30 instead of 5:30 because timed eating is a prison, and moving forward not being bothered by it. In the instance of a life of worship, a non-scale victory might be not over-reacting when your two-foot tall budding artist decorates their play table with glitter or decides that a glue stick is the best adhesive to put a picture on the front of the fridge. Or maybe using less agressive words to the person in front of you that doesn't turn left when the arrow is green and leaves you stuck at the red-light. Again.

Third, for those of us who like to measure progress, we can do it in a more God-honoring way. At the end of every day, we could actually pray and ask God to show us where we did well and where we need more work. As a bonus for those who are really brave, we could even throw in the why do I do things like that and ask God to reveal what's in our hearts. As someone who has been asking that last question a lot, it has revealed so much more of how I perceive God and myself than anything else. And let me just say, when those long believed lies hit the light of day, you get hoppin' mad at the devil.

Fourth, we have to accept that the more we grow in Christ likeness, there has to be a proportionate increase in our absolute dependence on Him. He has to be the one that sustains it. Why? Because we get arrogant. A quick read of Deuteronomy 32 is enough to sober us up to our human condition. Israel had it all and then....grew fat and kicked, became heavy and sleek, abandoned the God who made them, rejected the Rock their Savior, made God jealous with foreign gods and angered Him with detestable idols. Think we don't do that? Guess again. God shows us His way, we think we can customize it, adjust it to our preferences, and end up exactly where we started or in a worse place than before. Comfort + Complacency = A recipe for disaster

Fifth, and most importantly, a life of worship is doing what God has called us to do individually. Yes there are mandates of thou shalts and thou shalt nots, but what your life of worship looks like and what my life of worship looks like are not going to match. Worship is about obedience. If we do what God is telling us to do, even when someone else thinks we should be doing something else, more, or less, we are living a life of worship. To allow the pressure of someone else's perception (or our own self-inflicted perception) of what obedience is supposed to look like in our lives, is to make them, or us,  the god we are trying to please. Sound harsh? It is. But as one who has lived this way for a long time and is really exhausted from it, I have to say it. I know I'm not the only one.

And here's the kicker. As we move through the New Year like this, the evidence of it will become blatantly obvious. How? We will see an increase of every blessing that truly, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, gentleness, and faithfulness. When we walk in obedience with the Lord, the one thing that is sure to grow is our contentment with exactly where He has us.

My sincere prayer is that we will go into this New Year filled with the hope of all Jesus wants to do in our lives. We are made for so much more than we realize and are meant to have far reaching impacts. No, we probably won't see how the work of our hands prospers. But if we are doing what God asks, He will bless it and multiply it, even if we don't know how, when, where, or why. And honestly, that's what matters most. Let's move forward in worship because above all us, we know that He is good, faithful, and fully aware of what He is doing.

No comments: