So how’s those New Year’s resolutions coming along? Mine are doing great in case you were wondering. You know why? Because I didn’t make any. Ha! Resolutions are to me just the beginnings of failure mainly because I put these expectations on myself and I likely will not follow through. It’s like I make this big list of all my flaws and think I can all of a sudden completely change everything I dislike about myself because today is January and yesterday was December.
That’s not to say that I didn’t start anything new. In fact I did. A new year is a great time to start a new thing. So I’m going to read the Bible all the way through this year. I got a really cool (really on-sale) Bible with my Christmas money that is set up in chronological order and the readings are marked by the day. It’s definitely different because the prophets are all sprinkled in where they actually happened on the timeline instead of clumped together in the middle and at the end of the Old Testament. I’m guessing that Paul’s letters are probably inserted here and there in the middle of Acts based on where he was. Anyhow, I just thought maybe it would all make sense and stay in my brain better if it flowed based on when it happened. It just seems to tie everything together for me.
Right now I’m about midway through Genesis (with a little Chronicles ancestry inserted in here and there). Because this is not my first undertaking of reading the Bible, I have read Genesis probably more than any other book. In fact, Genesis is literally falling out of my Bible.
So I’m rereading again about Abraham (was originally was called Abram until God changed his name) and the rest of the patriarchs. But in reading one of the passages the other day, I was struck again by the wording of one particular verse.
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. – Genesis 12:1
At first glance, that might seem a little redundant. Go from your country, go from your kindred, go from your father’s house. Okay, we got it. You want Abram leave where he is and go. But read back over that again and take note to how each time it’s a little more personal.
Go from your country. Leave this place that you’ve called home and are comfortable with.
Go from your kindred. Leave this way of thinking that you been taught and this way of doing things that’s been passed down to you.
Go from your father’s house. Leave behind who you thought you were…this old identity.
God wasn’t just calling him to leave a place a go to another place. God was going birth a new nation from his offspring. God was going to give him a new way of doing things, change the way he thought. And God was going to give him a new identity.
Abram wasn’t just going away from something…he was going toward something else.
And verse 4 says? “So Abram went…”
Just like that. And he didn’t even know where he was going. All he knew what that he was following God, and in faith he went. And God didn’t tell Abram to just go and find a new place. No, God said to leave and go “to the land I will show you.” So the change that was coming wasn’t with Abram leading, but with God leading. I wonder if maybe that’s where I always messed up with my resolutions. Making that list of things I wanted to change and then trying to do it myself instead of asking God where I needed to leave and where I needed to go from there.
Sometimes God calls us to walk away from things. Maybe it’s something that has become an idol and we have to lay it down and walk away. Maybe it’s an old way of thinking and God is saying, “It’s time to put that to rest and let Me birth something new in you.” Or maybe for the very first time, you’re hearing God calling you out of sin and He’s got a new name and a new identity He wants to give you through Jesus.
And look, the things that He asks us to let go of don’t always necessary have to be bad things. Sometimes they may be things that are consuming too much of our time. Maybe you’re involved in too many activities and God is saying, “Hey, let’s say no to a few things so you can focus on this one thing.” It might be that the thing God is calling you to right now is simply a season of rest.
No matter where you find yourself right now, I can promise you with all confidence that whatever God is calling you to is worth leaving behind what he’s calling you from. And the blessing that is waiting there? It’s gonna be a good one ya’ll.