We are here at the beginning of 2017, looking at all the possibility that comes with a new year. I mean, we have barely started the year and already we can FEEL that absolutely ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! What possibility! What adventure! 2017 doesn't have to look anything like 2016 did!
That's the brilliance of a new year. That's the brilliance of a fresh start. That's the brilliance of a clean slate. That's the brilliance of a life with Jesus!
As I consider this brand new year, I want my heart to be positioned in such a way that I am able to confidently walk in the direction that God is leading me this year. As I was considering how to start this year, I just felt led to pray through the fruits of the Spirit. I want my life marked by the fruits of the Spirit. I want the fruits to be evident in everything I do.
The first fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 is love. There are two ways in which we are called to love. First, we are called to love our God with all our hearts, with all our soul, and with all our might (Deuteronomy 6:5). Second, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:39).
This particular passage in Deuteronomy 6 has really struck me lately:
Here's what strikes me about this passage. First, this passage comes to us after Moses talks about the Ten Commandments (in chapter 5). The last thing he mentions (6:5) is simply to love God with our everything. He goes further than that. He talks about how we should teach these words to our children, talk about them when we sit and when we walk and when we lie down and when we rise. These words should always be on our lips. Why should they always be on our lips? It's quite simple, really....
So we don't forget.
Jesus broke down the commandments into two Greatest commandments. Love God, Love people, between loving God and loving people we will obey all the commandments.
The other part about this passage that struck out at me was "They shall be as frontlets between your eyes." If you don't know what a frontlet is (don't worry, had to look it up myself), it's just simply "a decorative band or ornament worn on the forehead." It's hard to forget something that's hanging out on your forehead, isn't it? You know what else? It's hard for others to NOT notice that you have something hanging out on your forehead. So not only would having these words on your lips constantly help you to remember, but it would also serve as a reminder to others.
So what does this teach us?
This teaches us to put God and His commandments on the forefront of our minds AND our tongues. We need the reminder and so do others.
Let's not forget these commandments. Let's not forget to tell our children. Let's not forget to have words of love for our Savior and our neighbor on our tongue. Let's let our lives be marked by Love!
God I pray that in this new year that YOU are on the forefront of my mind. Let me not get distracted by my own selfishness, but let me be focused on You. Let me love you passionately, with all of my heart, with all of my soul, and with all of my might. Let me love my neighbor in the same way that I love myself. When I struggle to love my neighbor, help me to take my eyes off of myself and turn them to You. Remind me that no one is too far from Your love. Amen!