(Photo credit: taranoel)
Every December, I ask Jesus to show me a verse that He wants me to live out during the upcoming new year.
I have done this since 2002, when a Sunday school teacher suggested that we do this very thing. The goal was that by the end of that year, you would KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have lived that verse…that you have walked it out with Jesus. It has jumped off the page in the Bible and now lives permanently in your heart; a powerful testimony to the fact that Jesus lives and still walks with His followers today in the Person of His Spirit.
It has been a life-changing experience and I highly recommend doing it.
This year, He has given me this passage: “Command those who are rich in this present world would not be arrogant nor put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and ready to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so that they make take hold of the life that is truly life.” —(I Timothy 6:17-19).
Life that is truly life!
We all want the “good life” don’t we?
Our culture has plenty to say about what that is: health, wealth, and beauty.
Yet, Scripture tells us that those things are fleeting and definitely NOT worth our time and energy. In fact, if we put all our energies into attaining those things, we will be left empty-handed in the only place that really matters: standing before God once our life on earth has ended.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36).
I only have one life and I want to live it in the way that my Creator deems worthy: the pursuit of Christ. (John 17:3)
This verse tells me what His priorities are:
1. Wealth in this world is uncertain and can be gone in an instant.
In the blink of an eye, wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle. (Proverbs 23:5).
2. I will put my hope in God Himself, not my bank account or anything else in this world
Take a moment and look around you, wherever you are while reading this. You are not taking anything you see with you when you leave this world. In fact, one future day, everything on this earth is going to be destroyed by God Himself (2 Peter 3:10). Only people and God are eternal. The things of earth will not last. To spend your life seeking those things is to waste your life and miss what truly matters.
“No thing can satisfy the soul. The soul was made to stand in awe of a Person…the only Person worthy of awe.”—John Piper
3. I will rest and rejoice in the fact that our God is a lavish Giver.
As this verse says, He richly provides all things for our enjoyment. He is not a heavenly Scrooge. He loves to give and He only gives good gifts. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17).
Enjoy the good gifts He has given you. Revel in them. Thank Him for them. But don’t live for them. Live for Jesus.
4. There is one way to be rich, regardless of the size of your bank account: be rich in good deeds.
Give your time and your treasure for the good of others. Open your eyes to the world around you. There are needs everywhere. Go and meet the ones you can with what you have.
We own nothing. We are simply stewards of what God has seen fit to entrust to us. Live with an open hand. Giving is the path of true joy.
5. Live for heaven, not for the stuff of earth.
Compared to an infinite eternity, this life is a vapor, a mist. (James 4:14)
This world is not our home. Let’s not live like this is all there is. Let’s spend this year filling our bank accounts in Heaven with true, eternal riches as we live day by day with Jesus, following wherever He leads, knowing that He can only do good to us.
This will result in true life! The transliteration of the word “life” in the original Greek is zoe. It means: “the absolute fullness of life…a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed.”
I want to live a life like that in 2013.
“Whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not have wasted your life.”—John Piper