A 2019 Change of Perspective that Changes Everything
One of the most impactful realizations of my life.
This blog is about our journey as stewards, and what God teaches us along the way. In 2018, my steward’s journey led me to one of the most impactful realizations of my life. At the start of this new year, it changes everything. Let me share why, in case it just might change everything for you, as well.
Ask Christians what they most hope to hear Jesus say when they stand before him and most will quote Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share your Master’s happiness.” How many of us are living and working and striving in order to hear those words, “well done”?
I was. The down side of living for ‘well done’ is the nagging question, ‘how much is required to ensure we hear those words?’ In the past two months I have been part of a series of conversations that fixated on this question. Sincere Jesus followers were struggling with anxiety around defining what was required of us. This was not about salvation, but about doing enough to be at peace before Jesus. What stands in the way is our own inadequacies, our fears and our sin. When we struggle through a season of disappointments and failures, this perspective can become deeply discouraging.
I know, I was there.
Then in November I was reading through Matthew and came across the familiar words spoken by the Father to Jesus as he came up out of the waters of baptism, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” (3:17) It struck me that before Jesus performed a single miracle, called his first disciple, taught one lesson or upset a Pharisee, God proclaimed his absolute delight in him. There was no ‘well done’, this was the first day of Jesus’ ministry. There was no ‘doing’ to acknowledge, only a pronouncement about who Jesus was in the sight of His Father.
What does this have to do with us? Consider these truths about you and me.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. Galatians 3:26
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2
If we are God’s children, could it be, could it really be that – quite apart from all we do, all we might accomplish and everywhere we might fail – God, our creator, redeemer and sustainer, the Almighty ruler of the universe and the coming king of the world, this God looks squarely at you and me and says, “you are my beloved child. I love you, and I am delighted in you”?
For the past eight weeks I have embraced that truth, and it has changed everything. I have embarked on a new journey away from a striving to become worthy of ‘well done’ and down a new path of freedom and certainty, living in the daily joy of hearing my Father’s voice pronounced over me, ‘well pleased’.
My friends, moving from ‘well done’ to ‘well pleased’ is an extraordinary gift.
Imagine, no matter what the challenges, the uncertainties or even the bitterest disappointments, we never cease to be the source of our Father’s delight. We don’t earn it, achieve it nor do we need to fear losing it. It does not reflect our effort for God, but our Father’s eternal, unchangeable attitude toward us.
The impact is a shift in what motivates me. ‘Well done’ motivated me to work harder, strive more diligently and achieve more. It drove me to ‘do’. ‘Well pleased’ has freed me to pursue one passion and one only – faithfulness. When I hear His voice and sense His pleasure in me, all I want to do is live a faithful life. And you know what? I believe now that is all He wants from me!
What does God require of you in 2019? What will be the source of your satisfaction and joy? What motivates you most as you start this new year?
Here is my challenge. Find a mirror and look at yourself carefully. Then begin saying to yourself, “I am God’s beloved child, and He is well pleased in me.” Say it again, and again. Let it seep deep into your spirit and gladden your heart. When it does, I pray you will find that faithfulness will begin to drive everything you do. Nothing else will matter, just a deep desire to respond to the never-ending love of the Father with a heart that wants to live for Him.
How do we live that out each day? I’ll take that up next week.
Happy New Year!