It’s been a while since I last wrote a devotional post for All4God. But now it is time to kick off what will hopefully be a great year of God speaking through both what I write, and what others write (The hope is that over the course of the year I’ll be able to bring you great teaching from some of my friends from around the world, because it’s not meant to be about me in any way, but purely about getting closer to God, and living fully for Him.)
And so as we start the year, what better place to start than with resolutions.
It is now almost two weeks into the new year. So the odds are if you made any resolutions, they will be well and truly broken by now. I don’t know if you are in to making resolutions at the start of the year or not. It may be that you wanted to get into better exercise habits, or you wanted to learn a new instrument. Or maybe you consider yourself ‘above’ the whole New Year’s resolution thing. And I am not writing with the intention of encouraging you to make some vague resolutions that won’t last past January. Anyone can decide they are going to eat healthier or work harder.
I want to encourage you to commit to something bigger than that. Something more consequential than whether or not you lose that extra weight you put on over Christmas. Something that will change lives. Something that will be totally counter-culture. Something that will see you grow in your walk with God. I want to challenge you to resolve to love. Actually, I don’t. Paul does:
“Love from the centre of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fuelled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” Romans 12:9-21 (The Message)
Wow. What would our lives look like if we really lived that out? If we resolved to love like never before. If we fled from evil. If we regularly soaked up God’s goodness. If we got serious about praying, not just for our comfort, but for the world around us. What impact would it make if we started blessing our enemies? If we decided to hang out with the social losers. If we tried to get on with everyone. If we did good deeds to those who mistreat us.
Are you with me in making this the year that we find out? Will you resolve to love from the centre of who you are, showing God’s love to the world?