Looking Back At 2016
When I was approached with the opportunity to share my one word challenge, I quickly traced back to the beginning of last year. Without even knowing it, I was already incorporating the one word challenge. I began my 2016 year with one word, and that one word was CONSISTENCY.
I never had a problem beginning something, but building or even finishing something was my struggle. Leading up to 2016, God was establishing many new things in my personal relationship with Him, ministry, writing, music, fatherhood, and career – basically my whole life. Each one of these things held a high level of importance to me, so right away the word consistency tugged on my heart. For me to find the level of success that I yearned for, I needed to have a lifestyle of consistency.
Where there days that I did not feel like praying? Yes. Were there days that I did not feel like going to work? Yes. Were there periods throughout last year that I suffered from writer’s block/creativity and I did not want to finish an article? Yes. I think at times we all suffer from similar struggles, but as for me, I was not going to let anything detour me from my goals, so whether I felt like it or not, I had to keep pushing. I had to keep seeking God. I had to perform my best at work. I had to continue writing, and because of my consistency, I had one of the most successful years of my life. Here is a quick recap.
- Career: Received best salesman of the year award
- Writing: Launched my website and joined the Worshiped Exposed Team
- Spiritual Life: Found consistency with prayer and Bible reading
- Ministry: Part -Time Worship Leader for Conway Campus at Rethink Life Church
- Music: Learned Guitar / expanded my knowledge on Music software, etc.
As we introduced the 2017 year, I had yet gathered a word that I wanted to declare my year with, so because of that, I was a bit frustrated. Nothing was coming to me and didn’t come until the middle of January. I remember at the start of 2017 beginning a new Bible plan and as I went along with the plan, Mathew 28:19 stood out to me. In Matthew 28:29, Jesus tells his disciples to “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” I read this passage multiple times, and the one word that stood out boldly to me was GO. Around that same time frame, I remember hearing Pastor Craig Groeschel say, “God didn’t give us a specific way on how to go, he just told us to go. Jesus said to go make disciples, but he never told us how to, he left that part up to us.”
The more I thought and dissected the word GO, the more it challenged me and ultimately became my theme and one word for 2017.
Go (Living out my Faith)
I know the word GO may not seem sexy or creative, but for me, it is essential to living out my faith. I don't know about you, but I am tired of talking about faith and not showing any action; it is time for me to live and apply my faith in areas where I need to step out more. Mark Batterson said, "A goal without a plan is a wish" In the same way, "Faith without works is dead". The book of James chapter 2:14-26 clearly breaks this concept down, but I wanted to just highlight verses 14-17, "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless."
Jesus is the perfect example of this kind of faith that I am talking about. Jesus' ultimate purpose and goal was to die on the cross, but to accomplish this purpose Jesus needed to take the proper steps and action. He needed to GO! You see salvation was not attainable in just words; salvation was only achieved and accomplished in action (death). Meaning that Jesus not only spoke faith, he walked and acted on faith all the way to the cross.
That is the kind of faith that I want to live out. I want to exemplify a level of faith that produces good deeds, and that produces a change in me and around me. I want to talk the talk and walk the walk because that kind of faith is what pleases our heavenly father.
This year I am challenging myself to do, more than to say. To act, more than to dream. To perform, more than to plan. I don't want to waste another minute not doing all that I can do with what I have because at the end of the day that is all we can do. I heard this quote that said, “When you've done everything you can do, that's when God will step in and do what you can't do." I love that! At the end of my life I don't want to look back and say, "Man I wish I would have done, this or that". I want to look back and know that I not only dreamed, but I acted. I not only planned, but I executed. I not only said I had faith, but I lived my faith.
I love what this famous quote says, "I don't want to look back in five years time and think, 'We could have been magnificent, but I was afraid.' In five years I want to tell of how fear tried to cheat me out of the best thing in life, and I didn't let it."
I believe we all have areas in our lives where God is calling us to take the leap of faith, to act on our dreams, to put action behind our words; but the question is, will we?
That the challenge and ultimately the decision that you must make and commit to this year.
Let God and let's GO! This year is our year! Let's move mountains!
RECOMMENDED TRACK OF THE WEEK: "Where You Go I Go" by Jesus Culture