As 2009 winds down, I was reflecting on the amazing journey God has taken me on this year. Not a physical journey but more of a spiritual one where I’ve seen my faith grow by leaps and bounds. During this journey, four words jumped out at me: prepare, humility, patience, and faith.
PREPARE…I first heard this when I was on a trip to Winter Garden, FL with Kensington Community Church. During the trip, I had the opportunity to spend some quiet time in prayer after a community service project. After sitting quietly for a period of time, I felt a calmness around me and the word “prepare” jumped into my mind. Given the purpose of the trip, it made perfect sense for my wife and I.
HUMILITY…It was during the trip to Florida, that I was introduced to the book, Wide Awake by Erwin McManus. This book completely changed my outlook on life and what my purpose was. Life was all about me. It wasn’t until after I read this book that I realized that having a humble heart can get you through anything. It helped get me through the toughest year I’ve ever had at GM. My focus was completely on doing my job, staying positive, and trying to be an encouragement to others instead of joining in the negativity.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
PATIENCE…What a story this was. This fall, Kensington did a weekend message series called RESET. Part of the series also included people gathering together in Small Groups to dive deeper into the messages. One of the week’s assignments was to visit a cemetery. Once there, we were to make our way to a grave and stand before it. The action step was to symbollically bury whatever was preventing us from complete surrender to Him, in my case, I was focused on my own selfishness (see how Humility came into play again!). As I sat there, I looked at the name on the tombstone…Patience. I was speechless. Maybe I needed to bury something else!
FAITH…One thing I’ve found recently is that I need to spend each morning in prayer and reading my Bible. During one morning, the word “faith” came to mind. Was this my own faith? Was it having faith in God that he would answer my prayers? I began to look at my faith and discovered I wasn’t sharing it with others. What I have is gift from God and needs to be shared with others.
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15)
I’ve been more open with it lately because I feel that especially during Christmas, we remember what December 25th is all about…the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us. Why not share the “reason for the hope I have” with others?
Prepare. Humility. Patience. Faith. That’s been my 2009 journey.