Wrap up and Kick off
The book of Revelation opens up with some brutally honest letters to some churches. In these letters, the leaders and congregations do find some encouragement of areas of their faith that they are getting right, but the letters also dive into some concerns. Without mincing words or trying to gloss over issues, these churches are confronted with a very honest evaluation of problems that they need to address, and quickly.
As this year comes to a close, I have tried to place myself as a recipient of a similar letter and have prayerfully considered what "he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands" would have to say to me.
This flips the narrative a bit. I often think about God, his character, his word, his involvement in my life. However, I don't take enough time to stop and think what He would say directly and personally to me. His word often digs deep into my heart on a personal level, but to stay in His words long enough for them to transform into a direct address brings this to another level.
If you would like to play along, here are the five parts that these letters usually encompassed:
- Christ's Characteristic (focuses on an attribute that will relate to one or more of the below categories as well)
- Commendation (most of us are getting something right, so highlight that, celebrate that!)
- Concern (and, most of us have some areas that need realignment)
- Charge (what you should do about it)
- Comfort (promises to hold on to as we press on)
The letter that I prayerfully compiled of what God is leading me to evaluate, celebrate, and focus on as I wrap up 2021 and press into 2022:
The words of him who has led you beside still waters, whose name is a shield and strong tower, from the timeless LORD of hosts . . .
I know your dedication to me and to the worldwide spread of the gospel. I see your faithful work in church ministries and in your personal bible study and have worked through you and your words time and again.
But, you exhaust yourself because you forget to rest in me. You live daily like the battle is your own, though I have shown you time and again that I fight for you and the battle is mine alone.
Trust wholly in me, I care for you more deeply than you can know. I want you to know true rest. Be still, I have much more to teach you and show you and accomplish through you. Do not ever stop listening to and seeking after me. I am everything you need, and more.
Sometimes you want to rush ahead, hurry the season I hold you in at the moment. As you learn to rest, you will see greater purpose in the moment, and when the time is right, I will reveal more to you. The next steps will come, the new opportunities will be there, but stay in the moment with me and in each new season I will prove faithful and enough. Not enough as in the bare minimum, but enough as in the fullness of all you need, now and forevermore.
Don't ever forget that I am the lifter of your head (Psalm 3:3) and I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).