His Greatest Delight, Right Now!

Happy New Year!! ๐Ÿ’•

At the beginning of each year, we almost always make resolutions. When making them, we often do so with the aim of becoming a better person (โ€œNew Year, New Meโ€ sound familiar?). We fixate on the ways we might have fallen short the previous years and resolve to do better. For our spiritual goals, we resolve to read our bibles and pray more, listen to more messages, etc. Now while these resolutions are very necessary, it is important to question what drives them.

Why do you want to pray more in 2020?

For myself (and a lot of people, I suspect) these resolutions usually came from a place of fear that I did not please God in previous years because I โ€œdid not do enoughโ€. So Iโ€™d begin the New Year vowing to read my Bible for xyz hours or pray in order to be a โ€œbetter childโ€ of God. All this did was set me up for constant performance anxiety, afraid that If I underperformed in some way, God would no longer be pleased with me. This led to a vicious cycle where Iโ€™d have an intense period of prayers and studying followed by a period of relaxation, till my spiritual high faded again and Iโ€™d be spurred by guilt into another bout of intensity. So Iโ€™d have sporadic bursts of intensity, but no real consistency.

I think itโ€™s important to point out that in all the accounts of Jesusโ€™ baptism in the scriptures (Mat 3:13-17, Mk 1:9-11, Lk 3:21-22) it was noted that the Spirit of God descended on him and said, โ€œthis is my beloved son in whom I am well pleasedโ€.

Itโ€™s important because this happened BEFORE Jesus began his earthly ministry. If it had happened say after Jesus raised Lazarus from death, we could have rationally thought, โ€œGod was pleased because of what He didโ€ but Jesus hadnโ€™t done anything that we know of. Iโ€™ve talked about how God’s love doesnโ€™t depend on us <here> and I think itโ€™s something we need to remind ourselves as we step into the New Year.

I am starting this year with the knowledge that I am Godโ€™s beloved daughter, chosen and marked by his love, and that he is well pleased with me. His greatest delight is in me. Right now. Today.

So Iโ€™m not reading my Bible more this year because Iโ€™m trying to earn his favor. Iโ€™m doing it because I love him and I want to spend time with him.

Iโ€™ll tell others about Jesus, not to rack up evangelism points, but because heโ€™s too wonderful to not talk about.

And if peradventure I miss my bible reading one day, I wonโ€™t feel bad because I think heโ€™s annoyed with me. Iโ€™ll feel bad because I prioritized something over my greatest love.

And a voice from heaven said, โ€œThis is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Mat 3:17 (NIV. Please read it in KJV, MSG, TPT and AMPC as well)

Plugged In

Pray without ceasing…

-1 Thes 5:17

I really donโ€™t know how people managed to be in meaningful relationships before the advent of telephones and instant messaging (lol, spoken like a true millennial). These technological advances have made it so that we can be in constant, real-time communication with the people in our lives even if we happen to be on different continents. We are constantly plugged in with them and are able to tell them about the things going on with us as soon as they happen. Itโ€™s strange and worrisome to us to hear people in a relationship say they donโ€™t talk/text multiple times everyday.

A lot of people see prayer as just presenting a list of requests to God and so when they hear โ€œpray without ceasingโ€, they imagine just droning on and on to God all day (which actually sounds tedious). Iโ€™ve heard quite a number of people say things like, โ€œwonโ€™t you run out of stuff to say?โ€ However, prayer is not just presenting a wishlist to God and it isnโ€™t a monologue, itโ€™s a conversation.

For us to be told to pray without ceasing, it means that God is able and willing to keep the lines of communication between us open constantly. This does not mean that weโ€™re to separate ourselves from everyone else 24/7 and say weโ€™re praying, It means that He wants us to be in contact with Him throughout our day, from the moment we wake up till weโ€™re winding back down for bed; weโ€™re to develop a lifestyle of prayer. Things like; thanking Him for opportunities/provision, asking for help before doing difficult things, praying for people we come in contact with/who cross our mind, praising Him for the beauty of the things he created, etc are all included in prayer. These are often called โ€œspontaneous prayersโ€. Praying without ceasing means we stay connected to Him the same way weโ€™re constantly plugged in online to our friends and families.

This week, explore the meaning of prayer and what it means to โ€œpray without ceasingโ€. Stay plugged in.