When you look ahead to 2018, what sort of year would you like to have? A good year? A better year? Or the best year?
That sounds like an unusual question, as after all, we ALL want to have the best year we have ever had! However, over Christmas, I was reflecting on 2017 (which was a very challenging year for UCB) and I was asking God for 2018 to be the best year we have ever had. I felt God speak to my heart and challenge me on what ‘best’ actually means. Why should we have the best year? Do we have any right to ask for such a thing? How can we plug into God’s best for our lives?
What are you talking about?
As we look back over the year that was, many of us tend to share the good and the bad experiences of the previous 12 months. I have learned over the years that what we talk about, has the ability to change the atmosphere around us. If we are sharing good news and giving thanks to God for what he’s done, it fills others with faith and changes the atmosphere to one of expectancy. But if we are talking about the negative, those words too can change the atmosphere – but not for the better. I believe that to see God’s best in our lives, we need to focus less on the experiences and instead, focus on our expectations. What do we want God to do in those situations? What do we ‘see’? What do we expect? Instead of talking about the physical circumstances, let’s instead set our eyes on the vision that God has given us.
We need to be changed
To see God’s best, we need to be ready and willing to be changed. That is an uncomfortable place for many people, but God is a God of transformation and he is never finished with us! Last year at UCB, we invested significantly in our team, giving them opportunity to meet with God in fresh ways. We invited different speakers to address the staff and encouraged the team to seek out their own fresh experience with God. A visit last year from itinerant minister Fergus Mcintyre was a turning point for many of our team, some experiencing the manifest presence of God in their lives for the first time. But for God to move, each of us has to be willing to allow him to move in our lives. 2 Timothy 3:17 (KJV) says, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’
We need to be equipped for all that God is going to do and that means his process of transformation in our lives is never finished (not while we are on this earth anyway!).
What is your room furnished with?
2 Kings 4 tells the story of a noblewoman who was so impacted by the ministry of the prophet Elisha, that she and her husband built a room on their house, for him to stay in whenever he passed through their town. They furnished the room with a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick. In a future blog, I will share what I believe each of these items represents, but I think the simplicity of this furniture was designed to help Elisha find rest, peace and intimacy. These three areas are so important for us too as believers. What is our room, or our heart actually furnished with? Is it cluttered and noisy and distracted? Or is our heart furnished with peace and rest and stillness with God?
If like me (and UCB), you are looking ahead to 2018 then can I encourage you to speak with expectancy, allow yourself to be changed and transformed and to find that place of rest and intimacy? Let’s believe together that God indeed will give us the BEST year yet!