On Sabbath, we welcomed in the New Year with a determination to focus on one word instead of a long list of resolutions. To live with the filter of one word shaping your decisions, thoughts, and actions is an intriguing concept. Can one word change your life?
Rewind to Luke 5:27, 28. The one word that changed Levi’s life forever was “follow.” What does it mean to follow Jesus? Levi’s actions supply the answer: “Levi got up and left everything.” Do the plans of God include you letting go of whatever has been holding you back from Him?
What about Matt. 11:28? There are actually two powerful words in this one sentence—two that can definitely change your life in 2019: “Come” and “rest.” Before you can follow Jesus, you first must come to Him. Nothing happens until you come. Have you come to Him with your fears, questions, doubts, anger and disappointments? If you do, then you are promised the second powerful word—rest. Maybe God’s words for you in 2019 are “come” and “rest.”
Rewind to Matt. 6:33. The word that can change your life is “First.” If you come to Jesus and rest first; if you follow Him first; if you put His plans for your life first, then, according to the next verse, you won’t need to worry about the future.
The word that has captured my imagination is the same word I believe Jesus wants us to focus on in 2019 for personal and corporate renewal. That word is “Devoted.” My friends, you cannot follow Christ, come to Christ, Rest in Christ, or seek Him first without also being devoted to Christ.
Rewind to Acts 2:42-47. Depending on your translation, verse 42 is rendered, “continued steadfastly.” Devotion is not occasional but constant; not a pause but a persistent pursuit. And what were the early Christians devoted to? They were relentless and passionate about the Word of God (the apostles teaching), loving relationships, Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection as remembered in the communion service; and to prayer. But our lackluster approach to these things show we are devoted to something else. If we’re not in awe of God, and not interested in passionately pursuing Him, why would we think the world should be? If we want the world to pay any attention to the Word and Gospel of God, we had better do the same.
Look what happened as a result of the early church’s devotion:
- Awe – (vs. 43)
- Unity & Selflessness – (vs. 44)
- Radical sharing – (vs. 45)
- Passionate worship and joyous fellowship – (vs. 46)
- Favor and growth – (vs. 47)
This is the kind of Christian I want to be and the kind of church I want to belong to. How about you? If God had it His way, what would our churches look like? I believe they would be devoted. My prayer is that we here at Renton will be the kind of church God wants and needs in 2019.–Pastor Randy
p.s. Visit myoneword.org and prayerfully take the one word challenge. Write down your word and see how God uses it to transform your life this year.