New Year’s Resolutions; it’s the buzz ‘word’ as the new year unfolds. Unlike previous years when I would have had a list already jotted down in my diary, this year I did not feel compelled to write one out. The main reason being that for as long as I’ve had New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve been known to not achieve even one thing on the list. Granted, these past two years I’d made some progress and managed to achieve one or two goals out of, wait for it, about ten listed goals. Dismal picture isn’t it?
Obviously, as each year ended, I had a dialogue with the Holy Spirit, asking him why I did not achieve the other goals I had set out. I mean, I did consult him as I made the goals, and as the scriptures bear out, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me; Philippians 4:13 and the Holy Spirit is my helper; John 14:26, so I was confused as to why I still fell short of my goals even though the Holy Spirit was present; mind you they were godly goals! The answer blew me away. The Holy Spirit clearly explained to me that the reason I only achieved the few goals that I had, was because they were the most important on God’s agenda! They were what God had pre-planned that I would achieve that year!
So in the last quarter of 2013, during a counselling session with my pastor, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was ‘works’ orientated. I had gone in the session hoping that my pastor would help me identify what it is that I was doing wrong, or was not doing that I should, that was stalling or blocking God from intervening in certain areas of my life. What I got out of that session was that it was not about what I was doing or not doing; it was all about the attitude or mindset that I had regarding how God would move in my life. Without realising it, I had come to believe that God would only move in my life if I did the right things. If I tithed, gave enough, prayed enough, lived holy enough, was humble enough, served enough, fasted enough… the list is endless. Of course all these things are good things to do as a believer, but I had been depending on my works and righteousness to merit favour with God. I believed that God would only do things for me based on my own righteousness and good deeds; and we know what the Bible says about that in Isaiah 64:6, where the prophet equates self-righteousness to dirty rags and in the book of Hebrews 6:1 where the writer urges us to repent of dead works. Suffice it to say that I got out of that counselling session dazed.
This prompted me to embark on an intense study on the righteousness that Jesus Christ imparts to us and God’s grace; his unmerited, undeserved, unworked-for favour. As I digested every scripture I could find on those subjects, I pondered on what action to take, a bit of a digression there, noted. So when I read the One Word 365 article on Single Roots I started thinking about my one word. The word rest just dropped into my spirit! It was as if the Holy Spirit was answering the question that had been on my mind since late last year; what to do now? I remember that in that instance I was reminding him that since He called me into full-time ministry in January 2012, things have been very hard for me. Having to leave behind the security of a salary every month and go on a limb for God had proved harrowing and traumatic for me. I had done all I knew to do, worked hard, exhausted all avenues I could think of, and still I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. The Holy Spirit told me that he couldn’t do anything becasuse I was busy running around trying to do everything myself!
So this year, I rest; “for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:10. Although I still catch myself here and there trying to think of a way out or figure something out, as soon as I realise what I’m doing, I remind myself of my one word. I am determined to just rest in God. It’s not easy, especially for someone like me who likes being in control and getting things done, that is, task-orientated but I guess the writer of the scripture above had some foreknowledge of people like me because in the next verse he goes on to say; “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest,” So the only task I’m assigning myself this year is to rest. I find it ironic; some people have to force themselves to work and here I am having to force myself not to work!
Of course that doesn’t mean I will just sit around and do nothing for the whole year. Rather, it means that I will continue ministering in the way God told me to; I will continue tithing, giving, praying, fasting etc, only this time the motivation will be different. I won’t be doing it so that God will bless me, or do certain things for me or as a way to bribe him. I will be doing it as my service to him, as showing obedience to what he instructed me to do. The breakthroughs, rewards, benefits and blessings, I leave in God’s hands. I’m resting from trying to figure out the when’s, how’s and what’s!
So thank you to the One Word 365 team, I do believe I discovered this platform at just the right time and I know it was no coincidence! I invite everyone reading this to take up the One Word 365 challenge. I do believe it will simplify your year. Just choose one word that you intend to apply in every area of your life as this year begins. Memorise and meditate on scriptures that speak of your word and I do believe 2014 will be a year you will enjoy. I’m already geared up for this year; no more lists, no more scattered thoughts; just one word; rest!