New year. New adventures. New challenges. New hopes. 365 days for God to work, and I’m excited to see what He’s going to do! What are you dreaming God will do this year?
Three hundred forty-nine days from now where will He have taken me? What’s around the bend in the road (as Anne Shirley would say)?
There is much to dream about: ministry, friendships, relationships, family, work. But those things all revolve around the center of my dream: God. How will He work? How will I be more like Him? How will I know Him better?
At the end of 2018, it won’t matter if I work in the same place, if I’m single or married, or if I’m involved in one ministry or another. It will matter if I have pressed on toward Christ, if I have matured in my spiritual understanding, and if I’ve come closer to my goal of knowing Christ.
I want to know Christ more this year. As I’ve been studying Philippians this winter, I discovered that when the Bible talks about “knowing,” there are several different Greek words with different shades of meaning. There is the informative, investigatory, basic knowledge that Paul talks about in Philippians 3:8 (“the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”). Think of this as what you would learn in a Psychology 101 class, a basic knowledge and awareness of the field of psychology, but not a deep, applicable grasp of the subject; it’s just the beginning.
If you earned a Masters in Psychology, you would probably participate in counseling practicums to apply your years of intensive study. At that point, you would have come to a solid (though not exhaustive) understanding and comprehension of the field. You would have a much deeper comprehension of the subject than when you took your first introductory class. Paul uses this second type of “knowing” in Philippians 3:10 when he talks of his longing to know Christ in a transformational way. The beginning of knowledge grows into a deep, perceptive understanding.
This year, I want to grow in both types of knowing Jesus. I want to know more about Him and His character and who He is, but I also want to be transformed by that knowledge. I want to know Christ in a way that enables me to be like Him (Phil. 3:10), that enables me to have the same attitude as Jesus (Phil. 2:5), and that enables me to live in a manner worthy of Christ my Savior (Phil. 1:27).
These are great dreams, but how does it apply to my daily life of going to work, serving in ministry, going to the grocery store, and writing a blog? I’m learning that each day the decisions I make affect my knowledge of God. Some decisions are big (should I move to a new apartment?). Some are small (what should I read and/or watch during my lunch break?). But they all affect my mindset and knowledge of God.
As we seek to know God (both types of knowing: information and understanding), we will come to understand His desires. And as we understand His desires for His kingdom, they will come to affect our decisions and priorities (the big ones and the little ones). As we read the Word of God and as we seek Him in prayer, we will be transformed by our growing knowledge of God.
So, for me, this is a year of dreaming God’s dreams. It’s a year of knowing Jesus more. It’s a year of pressing into Jesus. It’s a year of watching God work. Will you join me in the journey? Will you choose to seek Jesus more? Will you ask Him to enable you to know Him better?
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)
This is my theme for the year 2018. Join me in the journey of seeking Jesus!
P.S. If you want a practical step for pressing on, it’s not too late to join me in reading through the New Testament in 2018. See my last post!