The new year always causes us to take inventory and at least briefly think about where we have been, where we are, and where we are going with our lives. Resolutions may not last, but it is helpful to at least stop and think about changes or new directions as we journey on daily.
I have seen where people are encouraging us to find our “one word” for the year ahead. I have thought about this and decided my one word for this year is going to be “positive.”
An important aspect of being a part of the kingdom of God is that we know how the story ends. We know who wins.
The hard part is that when we are in the middle of life and it is hard, messy, and difficult, we tend to forget that God’s got this. He has our backs. Things may not go as we think they should, but that is the beauty of trust. It is knowing that no matter what happens, God is still in control, He loves us, and we can still find joy in this life.
My word for this year is positive. Why? There is enough negativity going around that fills us with fear and makes us impotent in being effective for God.
So, what do I do to stay positive?
I came across a scripture that really resonated with my heart recently.
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12, NIV
The Message says it like this,
“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’ quit in hard times; pray all the harder.”
Did you hear it?
Keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Wow! What a concept!
How do we do this?
By being in the Word, reading, studying, and being in a trusting relationship with God.
There is a verse in a devotional song that demonstrates this idea perfectly. It is called Pass It On, by Kurt Kaiser,
Verse 1 says,
It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around, can warm up in its glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love once you’ve experienced it
You spread his love to everyone, you want to pass it on.
I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound
I’ll shout it from the mountain top, I want my world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on.
The first line says it all to me. It only takes a spark to get a fire going. The point of the Romans verse is that we are to be fueled and ready, ready for the spark.
Jesus himself says it as well,
“I’ve come to start a fire on this earth – how I wish it were blazing right now! I’ve come to change everything, turn everything rightside up – how I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront!”
Luke 12:49-51, The Message
How many times do we fret, worry, and live our lives in fear over the things happening to us and around us? Yes, there are troubles, Jesus said we would have them. Yes, there are scary things we deal with day to day. Yes, people we love get sick, struggle, and die.
How can we stay positive amidst all this chaos?
That my friend is called joy. Joy is not happy, hoorah, fun and games. True joy is knowing even in the hard stuff, God is working all things for good.
When you find yourself feeling worried, scared, and freaking out over the things going on around you, remember, Jesus is lighting in a fire in us. Fires are hot and fires burn, but fires also cleanse and remove debris.
So, amidst the fires smoldering all around us, let us strive to stay positive, filled with spiritual joy that God is working in our lives and the lives of those we love.
It only takes a spark
To get a fire going,
And soon all those around
Can warm up in its glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it
You spread his love to everyone
You want to pass it on!
Let’s pass on the spark and spread the joy and see the positive even amongst the flames around us!
Here’s the link to the song!