Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
Have you reached that point in 2020 where it seems like any forward movement in your life has been placed on hold? Did you, like many, spend the first half of the year trying to make places that kept getting thwarted, only to throw your hands up and say “Maybe next year!”
Can I tell you two things: First off, I understand. For so many, this year has been hard and what you’re feeling is very real.
But also, God is not done with you in 2020. While 12 months ago NONE of us anticipated that in just a few months we’d be wiping down groceries, deciding which mask would look best with what outfit and deciding if we needed to upgrade our Zoom accounts (as well as all the real, painful decisions some of us would have to make, or have made on our behalf), God’s plans to walk with us and form us more into the image of Christ never stopped – not even for the length of a TikTok.
The details of this year may have changed, but the end goal has not: we are still called to pursue a righteous life in a chaotic world. In fact, in the Apostle Paul’s final remarks in his first letter to his mentee, Timothy, resound such a mission.
“But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:11-12
So what does pursuing a righteous life boil down to? Well here are five facets of righteousness that we can spend time pursuing today, no matter what is going on.
- Wonder (or imagination) – As chaotic as 2020 has been, it has also brought its fair share of monotony to dull our senses. But as monotony sets in, spend time with God and allow Him to awaken wonder in you – to help you consider the possibilities of what God could do through you. Think outside of your box. Pray for divine perspective for your neighborhood and your family. Ask Him for one idea for one person you can help this week. And when you finish with that, ask for another.
- Faith (or seeing what is possible) – While you learn allow God to awaken wonder in you and inspire your imagination to think of ways to lead people to Christ, be reminded that you don’t have to do it in your own strength. Faith in Christ puts His ability as the center of your decisions. So choose to do one thing that is outside your comfort zone this week – and ask Christ to empower you. He loves to change your definition of “possible”.
- Love – The realm of our influence always rises and falls by our capacity to love those we wouldn’t normally love. Who can God give you empathy for this week? Who are difficult to be kind to that we can walk toward? Whose slate can you wipe clean in your heart because of what Christ has done for you?
- Steadiness – In true paradoxical fashion, the two steady things of 2020 are uncertainty and Christ. And your life will reflect who you looked to the most. This week find one healthy pattern that you’ve had trouble maintaining and keep at it. Follow through and be consistent. It is not flashy but it is worth the discipline.
- Courtesy (or gentleness) – In a cultural moment when hate is a commodity, and harshness is a virtue, make the choice this week to spend enough time with Jesus to be tempered by His character so you can face both direct or indirect trial.
Before you get overwhelmed by the list, be reminded of two things. Your journey with Jesus is a marathon, not a sprint. Choose only one this week that stands out and focus on that. Then next week, choose another.
And second, righteous living is based on what Christ has done for us on the cross first. We draw our ability to live righteously from that, and we live a life already loved, accepted and atoned by the God who loved us before we loved him.
Whatever you face this week, bring God along. Pursue righteous responses. And enjoy His presence as He walks with you through it all. You got this!
-Pastor Cris Buck