I love lists. Especially “to do” lists.
Writing down what needs to get done, ticking them off one by one.
The sense of accomplishment is wonderful.
What better way to end 2018 and bring in the new year with a list.
Not simply writing a list of things to do, but writing a list of lessons understood.
The following are lessons God has taught me throughout 2018. I hope they are beneficial for you as well.
I had the opportunity to do some work experience as a Chaplain in a local prison. Through this, I found myself with the head Chaplain facilitating a grief and loss session for the female maximum security prisoners. This changed the way I view others and how we present the gospel, especially after reading the psychology reports of those involved. Who am I to judge? I have no idea what others have been through. My role is to help, not to judge.
2. You don’t get to choose your circumstances, but you choose how you respond
3. Forgive others
In Matthew chapter 18, verse 21, Peter asks Jesus how many times he is to forgive those who have sinned against him. Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” You have been hurt, and you forgive. But it still hurts. Forgive again. Repeat seventy-seven times. It is hard, but worthwhile. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.
4. If we don’t transform our unforgiveness we will transmit our bitterness.
Have you heard the saying hurt people will hurt people? When we engage in the practice of forgiveness we allow our hurts to heal.
5. Forgiveness is the vaccine for sin
Inject a little forgiveness into your body, mind and spirit.
6. Be prepared for God to do the unexpected.
Francis Chan once said, “lukewarm people call radical what Jesus expected of his followers.” Chan then goes on ask his readership has their relationship with God actually changed the way they lived? Jesus expects our lives to be transformed when in relationship with him.
7. The gift of the sabbath
We are addicted to the drug of production. We always feel the need to be doing something. Take a day off a week to rest and recharge. I am more than happy to follow God’s example here.
8. God never contradicts himself
If you are unsure of God, go to your Bible. If you’re feeling restless, pray. God will meet you.
9. “What if?” versus “I know”
This represents the struggle between anxiety and truth, or fact versus fear. I know I can do this versus what if something happens? Fear demotes our faith.
10. Get to the root of the problem
So often we focus on the symptoms of the problem, rather than treating the cause. Heal your wound before you heal the wounded. If you’re unsure, look for the patterns of your behaviour, then you will be able to trace back to the root.
Idols are the blocks in your life that separate you from God. God won’t pull down your idols, but he will identify them to you so you can pull them down. It is a scary prayer to pray, to ask God what the idols are in your life.
12. Who you are is more important than what you have done
Don’t wrap your identity up in your achievements. God loves you more than you know. You don’t earn God’s love through your achievements.
13. Remember you are Christ’s ambassador
If you are a born again Christian, you are “an ambassador of Christ” (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 20). An ambassador has a home, but practices their craft elsewhere. Your home is in eternity, your mission is earth. Take your resources from the kingdom of heaven and use them here on earth, knowing you will be reconciled to the Father in His timing.
14. Faithfulness is obedience over a long period of time
In an age of instant gratification, this is an important discipline to remember.
15. Everyone is worthy of forgiveness, not everyone is worthy of your trust.
16. “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict. God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” - Billy Graham.
17. Value your relationships
“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The world is in chaos because things are being loved and people are being used.” - Unknown.
18. Don’t worry
Worry is a conversation you have with yourself. Prayer is a conversation you have with God. Do not push away the person who can fix the problem.
We have so much to be grateful for.
I pray you are able to list your lessons from 2018 - The good, the bad and the ugly.
This is one of the blessings of being in relationship with Jesus. We are being reframed and reformed each day through the power of the Holy Spirit.