ABIDE! That’s not a word you hear every day but for me that is a word I will try to live by for the next 359 days. That is how many days are now left in 2014. You see for quite some time now as each year draws to a close, I stop to ponder what exactly I need to focus on for the following year. This is not about making all kinds of New Year’s resolutions but strangely enough the resolutions seem to naturally follow based on the word I get for the next year.
Those who know me pretty well will agree that I am a planner and a doer. If something needs to get done I am not at ease until the task is completed. That is not a bad thing except all too often I find myself trying to do too many things at once. My seemingly endless list of projects sometimes fails to get shorter because of too many loose ends. My intention is never for things to get complicated but all too often I find myself frustrated because I cannot accomplish everything I think I need to. To add to this dilemma I am sometimes guilty of taking on more than I should or being able to say no to yet another project. As a result I find myself doing a lot yet accomplishing little.
So what, you might ask, does the word “abide” have to do with long lists, frustration and unfinished projects? Lets start by defining the word. As I read what the good old Webster’s dictionary has to say about this word, the very first definition for abide is “to wait for.” Oh aghast is there no end to my woe! I cringe as that word “WAIT” jumps off the screen at me! I begin to question if perhaps the word abide is really the word I need to live by for the next three hundred plus days. So I inquire of the Lord and there it is again. My heart hears these words: “Stick close to me. Wait on me. Abide in me.”
Sigh….yes I hear you God.
I go to one of my familiar New Testament scriptures for deeper clarity. John15:5 tells me that if I abide in Him and he in me, I will bear much fruit. Yes, that is my desire in 2014. I want to be a “fruit bearer” to be used for God’s purpose. But just as fruit will only come through the process of abiding or remaining on the vine, my spiritual fruit will only come as I abide in the Lord. Yet there are times I have found myself frustrated and running in circles. It is exhausting. Then I realize I am doing things in my own strength and not in the Lord’s! How easily I forget this vital truth of abiding!
Another definition for abide is “to continue in a place or to remain fixed in a state.” Oh how many mornings have I jumped out of my bed, into the shower and rushed into my day ready to tackle the many projects that await my attention. By night I fall into my bed drained but yet not having accomplished much. Doing things my way instead of God’s way has for the most part made for a lot of wasted energy. If only I had taken time to start the day in that secret place with my Lord…to remain with him awhile…to wait on him…to hear from him…to abide in him.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a complete failure. My intentions are always good. In those seasons where I am consistent to wait on God and start my day on the right foot with him, I see such a wonderful flow in my day. Even if things do not go perfectly well I find myself in a much better frame of mind to handle the problems that are thrown at me. So my New Year’s prayer is to ABIDE…to stick closer to Jesus…so that I can hear from him FIRST! Only then will I be all he wants me to be in 2014!
What I am trying to say is that I just want to have more consistency in this area of my life. I want to do better when it comes to living each day. I don’t want to chase after “good ideas” but rather I want to pursue the “God ideas!” And I am so eternally grateful that God gives me (and you) a chance to “start over” not just once a year but every day of the year if necessary.
So this is my challenge in 2014. Now I challenge you. Has this little nugget tugged at your heart in some way today? Are you feeling a bit frustrated already in just the first week of the New Year? Maybe you need a word too. It is not too late. And no, it does not have to be my word. Actually it needs to be a word all your own for your life and where you are right now. You may be asking yourself just how do you get a word for 2014? Ask God. Ask him what your focus needs to be in 2014. I promise he will show you exactly what his desire is for you just as he has shown me.
So now you know my word. Abide. I would love to know yours. More important I would love to pray for you to be able to see some amazing changes in your life as you strive to live by your word in the year ahead. So my friend, feel free to leave a comment and share your word if you like. Let me know how I can pray for you as I ABIDE with Jesus each day. It would be my privilege to do that for you. Happy New Year friends!