This devotional is Day 23 of the 25-Day Advent Series “The Wonders of His Love.” Follow along with us as we grow in grace through the Christmas story by subscribing or bookmaking the home page above!
Scripture: Revelation 22:12-13
“Look, I am coming soon,
Bringing my reward with me
to repay all people according to their deeds.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.”
Revelation 22:12-13 (NLT)
When Jesus Wants to Get Your Attention
You want to know why I love this little bit of scripture so much?
It’s that very first word.
He says, “Look…” Other translations use words like behold, see, or listen. He is getting ready to say something very significant here.
Because I am a visual learner and also a mom of three young boys—I picture Jesus snapping his fingers to get my attention and then gently pulling my gaze up to meet His.
I can sense the urgency. There is so much power in that one word and I know that what Jesus is about to say next will change everything.
“…I am coming soon…”
Yes, I would say that is pretty important!
Setting Resolutions in Response
During this time of year, we begin to think about New Year’s Resolutions and about all of the things we are going to improve or change simply because the calendar flipped to 2019.
Believe me, I am guilty of this, too.
“I’m going to stop eating carbs.”
“I’m going to work out 3 times a week.”
“I’m going to read the whole Bible this year.”
“I’m going to quit yelling at my kids.”
“I’m going to have quiet time with the Lord each morning.”
…and on and on and on…
Do any of those sound familiar to you? All too often, we put off doing the really important things because we feel like there is still so much time to get that all done.
But Christ’s promise to return can motivate us, and motivate us to do what truly matters.
Before you start feeling guilty or regretful about things you said you’d start doing and never did or habits you vowed to break and couldn’t, I encourage you to believe what Bible tells us in Romans about how Christ feels about guilt and regret: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1 Meaning your sins are already forgiven—do not carry around what you already laid at the cross.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose…” Romans 8:28
God will use every valley and every mountain top moment to work together for YOUR good. Each of the parts in your journey are weaving together the whole story.
If you have ever read my blog, you know that I am all about keeping faith simple—not complicated. What I am about to share lines right up with that. I am going to tell you about some practical resolutions that do not require you to wait until the New Year—you can start today!
6 Goals That Really Matter
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
If praying has become plan B in your life, there is no better time than now to change that. You know, prayer isn’t just sitting in silence trying to think of something churchy to say.
Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule of prayer? It is 80% listening and 20% talking.
Doesn’t that just take the pressure off?
Find a comfortable chair in a quiet place. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing—four breaths in, six breaths out—until your mind has cleared. See what bubbles up to the surface and allow God to gently speak to your heart what’s in His word.
Prayer is a game changer, my friend.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
You have to open your Bible, there is just no way around that. It seems like a huge undertaking, but trust that the Holy Spirit will lead you down the right path.
Try memorizing verses, scripture writing, or reading the Bible in chronological order.
Give yourself grace—knowing you probably aren’t going to understand everything you read—and that’s OK. The Bible says that the Word of God never returns void.
You will be blessed for your commitment to grow and learn in the Word of God.
“And show hospitality to strangers, for they may be angels from God showing up as your guests.” Hebrews 13:2 (TPT)
Invite your neighbors over for dinner, have your co-worker over to watch a football game, throw a pool party and invite over the whole youth group.
Allow people to come into your space—even if it’s not clean.
You will be shocked at how fast the walls fall down around someone when they are in your home, opening them (and you) to the work of Christ.
“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Romans 12:2 (TPT)
Start letting more Christian voices into your daily life. Whether that means listening to a Christian radio station, following solid Bible study teachers on Instagram, watching sermons on YouTube or listening to Christian podcasts.
Whatever that means for your life—I would just encourage you to try it and see how much your life changes when you allow biblical and life-giving messages to get in throughout the day.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
As someone who was not raised in church, but believed in God from a very early age, I know for a fact that you do not have to go to church to be a follower of Jesus.
With that being said, it really does strengthen your faith to worship alongside other believers and be with the body of Christ.
When you take the time out of your busy schedule to physically go to church, you are showing that God and His people are first priority in your life.
Start this weekend—and just go. Sit in the back if you desire and wear whatever you want. All that matters is the posture of your heart.
“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Not many people would consider themselves a mentor. It sounds like a big scary word—you might say, “how could I be worthy of that title?”
Well let me assure you that God has most definitely placed someone in your life that can benefit from your guidance and influence.
I heard a pastor say once that every man and woman should not only be leading someone but also being led by someone else.
Picture three people climbing up a mountain – the person in front is helping the person behind him and the person in the middle is reaching back to help the person at the end.
That is the picture of mentorship.
In church, there are many people who have already walked the road ahead of you. Their wisdom, insights, and vulnerability to teach you from their mistakes is one way God provides help for you. And in that same way, your experience and your story can provide help and guidance to others.
You might be asking yourself what any of this has to do with the advent season. Honestly, I was asking myself the same thing while I was writing the outline for this devotional.
I texted my sister-in-law to see what she thought and the Lord spoke the answer through her and right to my heart. Here it is:
Nobody knows when Jesus is coming back, so we need to be prepared. We need to stop putting the most important things off until tomorrow.
Instead of focusing on New Year’s resolutions, let’s focus on setting goals that help us to go deeper in our walk with Christ—and by the way, you don’t have to wait until the first of the year to get started!
Take one step over this advent season to grow and strengthen your faith—I promise, you will be blessed for your obedience.
About the Author
Ally blogs at The Modern Mary. She has a true passion for leading and encouraging women to find their identity in Christ through focused prayer and prayer journaling. Ally is on a personal journey to be more like Mary and less like Martha—to keep life and faith simple! She stays busy by leading Bible studies, mentoring young women, and chasing around her three young sons. Ally lives on a four-acre oasis in Indiana and has been married to her husband, Ryan, for 14 years.