New Year’s Eve is my spiritual birthday. This December 31 will mark 53 years since I received God’s amazing gift of salvation, reconciliation and eternal life. What an adventure it has been!
I’ve met remarkable people, been amazing places, done exciting things. All because of choosing to follow Him. As wonderful as those things have been, clearly the best is getting to know Him, love Him, obey Him, learn from Him.
Because I seem to have a hard time remembering what God has taught me, and I’ve tired of many lesson repeats, I began to put those lessons into sayings or slogans—words I could use to remind myself of what God has shown me. This is nothing you don’t already know, but these memory/applications have helped me greatly.
I have picked 5 of these—one for each decade of my spiritual life—plus one for the current decade. My brief explanation of each one represents only a tiny fraction of all God has taught me through these lessons. So here goes:
1. God is God and God is good.
When circumstances are difficult, uncertain, painful, scary or just not to my liking, I remember that God is truly God. He is sovereign, in control, aware, able. So it is very good know that He is also good—how frightening if this powerful God were evil. Jeremiah tells us that God is always looking for ways to good to us. (Jeremiah 32:40-41)
2. God is singing a love song to each of us.
One of my favorite words from God is in Zephaniah 3:17: He quiets us with His love, He rejoices over us with singing. God is singing a love song to each of us, with verse after verse unfolding through the days of our lives. Some days the song is joyful and bright; other days it seems dark and sad. But always it is coming from the everlasting love of our Father.
3. The work of God is done on our knees. Then we find out what happened.
Most of us pray a lot—morning and evening, every meal, when we have a need. We pray about everything. But I have discovered that prayer is not a necessary activity for my work and efforts to succeed. Prayer is my work. The fruit will then be discovered as I head out to live my life.
4. The greener grass was spray painted by the evil one.
All of us are addicted to the greener grass syndrome: We desire some thing that is newer or better or more fun. Or we think some other place or job or person would be more satisfying. Sometimes God uses discontentment in our lives to spur us on to new opportunities, but mostly He urges us to be content, to rest in His provision. The evil one loves to distract and attract us with his bright spray paint. We need, as Paul suggests, to choose contentment.
5. Never settle for less than God’s best.
God tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that He already has good works prepared for us to do. And though He provides all we need—through His Spirit—we still need to choose to work hard, for His glory. Sometimes I’m just too tired. Or I have too many things on my plate to do any of them well. Or perhaps something else looks more desirable. I have told my children and myself many times: Don’t settle. Never settle for less than God’s best.
6. His way is always better than my way.
When I came to Christ on that New Year’s Eve 53 years ago, I didn’t fully understand what I was doing. But this I was sure of: I was choosing God’s way instead of my way for my life. I would love to say that that choice settled it, but in reality, every day I have to make choices. Will I demand my way? Or will I believe the above truths and surrender to His will? Hopefully I will continue to choose His way over mine more and more.
I hope these few highlights from my 53 years of seeking to walk in the Light will encourage you as they have guided me.
May your next spiritual birthday be a great reminder of God’s creativity, love and faithfulness.
What are some life lessons God has taught you?
c 2011 Judy Douglass