My work as Communications Specialist at FAITH includes posting for the church on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As a result, I am often immersed in social media. Over the past few months, I have heard loud and clear voices raised in expectation of what “we” want. And, it’s also clear that sometimes what one person wants is the exact opposite of what someone else wants. I listen. I feel. I disagree. I agree. And, after a while, I just long to shut it all off and go hide somewhere without any competing agendas.
Instead of hiding or running away, I have begun asking, “What does God want?” Rather than trying to go to the Bible to assure myself “I’m right” or to prove someone else has to be “wrong”…in an attempt to listen deeply for the still, small voice of God in the middle of so many dissenting voices, I have found Micah 6:8 (The Message) to be profoundly encouraging:
“But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.”
That last phrase is the one that grabs my attention, “…And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.” I am so easily convinced I am wise…or right…or know best…and others should agree with me. Do you also find yourself there? Even somewhat? I admit I do tend to take myself, my views, my wants far too seriously. This passage challenges me to shift that view off myself and onto what God wants. The earlier part of the verse makes it clear what God is looking for… for me to be just and fair with all those around me, endeavoring to really hear their heart’s cry, to be compassionate towards them, and to love others as Christ loves me (John 15:12). That means loving even those I don’t much like or who have opposing views!
In previous posts I have shared the “one word” I felt the Lord wanted me to focus on: in 2015 “joy,” and in 2016 “dance.” In 2017, I believe my word will be even more challenging. The word I want to grow into this year is “gentle.” A number of passages of scripture challenge us toward gentleness, but the one that especially caught my attention is in Philippians 4:5: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” I believe learning to be more gentle in my conversations, with myself, with others, will help me not take myself too seriously and to listen to God’s heart and focus more on what God wants. What one word might God challenge you to grow into this year as you ask what God wants? – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist