In The Word In 2016, One Day At A Time
Morning Meditation, January 2016
Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
It’s that first week of January. That week I equally anticipate and dread. The parties and late nights and tins of assorted cookies are so last year, and I’m a little sad about that because I particularly savored the lazy days in pajama pants and the Trader Joe’s holiday section of festive chocolates. Gatherings and punctuations in routine were welcome solaces at the end of a year’s busyness. I relished them late into the night because all was calm, truly quiet, and after short nights of rest when I could have kept sleeping I forced my languid self out of the covers because I didn’t want to miss all that quiet. I mean there was the mall and commotion and parties and such, but the deadlines and general tugs had abated. Maybe you too were like me, nursing those last few weeks in December like the fleeting hours of sunlight in August.
Then the New Year came and a flip got switched. I was ready for a clean slate, a little discipline back in the mix, and a good carrot wouldn’t hurt anyone. And as much as I love a Christmas tree with its lights and sentimental ornaments—when it’s over it’s over. What made me feel all tingly inside a month ago had now become a scraggly fire hazard I’ve been known to single-handedly heave onto the top of my car, tie up and careen to the Christmas tree graveyard out of sheer desperation for it to be out of my house. This is not something you can wait for another person to come help you do. It. Has. To. Go. Then I start vacuuming pine needles. All the decorations get packed and stored in the abyss of my underground basement until next year. The trapdoor slams, and 2016…. here we go. That’s the exterior part anyhow.
What’s going on inside me is a different kind of packing up and putting away and looking ahead. I think a lot about the previous year. All the ground covered, or perhaps lost. Maybe just maintaining was a feat. I journal. I thank God for His faithfulness and consider based on last year where He might be leading in this one. I take a few more walks than normal and pray and ponder, asking the Lord to reveal Himself in greater measure. What should I put my hand to? Is there a new skill to learn or an old one at which to get better? Who is the Lord putting on my heart to encourage, pour into, disciple, or take a mission trip to visit? What do I need to repent of, besides way overdoing it in the Trader Joe’s holiday aisle? Really. What desperately needs sanctification? What parts of my heart have been hurt, calloused over to which I need Him to tend? I process all of this a bit more than the other eleven months in the year, and I’m guessing you do too.
And after all that I usually remember that what will ultimately be accomplished in 2016 will happen one helping at a time, one decision at a time, one hour earlier up in the morning, one prayer meeting, one seed, one meal made, one yes or no…. at a time.
And one page at a time.
Every moment we’re immersed in the Word is a moment with eternal ramifications. All those moments add up, which is why it’s vital to make time for them each day. To have a plan and to guard that plan. I find that having a study I’m working through is helpful because it offers a daily beginning and end, an author as a guide, and all along the way points toward Christ through the Scriptures. If a bible study isn’t what works for you, I would take a book of the bible you want to study and pore over it in a month or two’s time, but set a daily plan. Journal what you’re learning and what God’s revealing. Have on hand a solid commentary as a supplement. Here’s a link to some of LifeWay’s offerings as a starting place.
At the top of 2016 may we allow The Word to give us understanding of God’s character so we can know who He is and how He acts. May it speak to our longings and passions and instruct us how to let them inspire but not rule us. At its feet may we gain wisdom for complex situations and understanding that peels back layers of prejudice, deceit and selfishness. As it says in Hebrews The Word is able to divide between soul and spirit, so sharp it can cut through sinful sinews, or separate good from bad or good from best.
For His Word is a true mirror, refiner’s fire, healing balm, sure rudder, sheltering hull, lamp, light, hope, help, plumb line, comfort.
May we let it do its work one day at a time.