If your 2017 has been anything like mine, then I know it has had its ups and downs. Challenges, victories, losses, frustrations, elation, contemplations, anger, depression, worry, fear, anxiety, laughter, excitement, moments of pure joy! Those emotions have filled our days, that have turned into months, that have made our year.
It has become apart of my natural rhythm, and maybe yours too, to reflect on the lessons learned, and begin to plan and set goals for the New Year.
I don’t know about you, but I love setting goals. I love brainstorming, and pondering, and dreaming about what could be. What I am not so good at, is the follow through. You know taking those goals and dreams and bringing them into reality, allowing them to go from good ideas into life application.
I want to be transparent with you, a little venerable. Let me share with you some of the goals that I have set for myself over the past few years that have been an epic fail for me!
Read the entire Bible in 1 year, read the New Testament in 90 days, go to the gym at least 3 times a week, run a marathon before I turn 30 before I turn 32, 35! Journaling every night, journaling every morning, knowing where my journal is located.
You get the point. I am pretty sure, and it would probably be a safe bet that if you thought about it you could come up with a pretty long list yourself of New Year good intentions that never really materialized into anything.
While reflecting on this truth in my life over the last few months, I came to the realization why what I have been doing has not been working. What I learned is that every year I try to add some new “thing” to my life! Guess what? It doesn’t get done at all, or halfway is done at best, and then I repeat the cycle over and over again.
What I realize is, I don’t need to add anything more to my life, I need to do the things that I currently do better.
What if the key to having the best year you and I have ever had, is not the adding of something new, but doing the things that we currently do better. What if we were able to level up in the things we already do?
It makes sense, doesn’t it? You are already doing you. You are already living your life, and if we are honest none of us have arrived at perfection in any area of our lives so there is room for improvement.
2 Corinthians 3:18
“18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Here’s the thing you can miss it but it is so important, he said we are not only being transformed into the image of Jesus, but it is ever increasing. Another translation says we are going from glory to glory. We as followers of Jesus should always be leveling up.
We to often level off, become stagnate, in our relationship with Jesus, instead we should be pushing ourselves to be more like Jesus causing us to level up!
What does Jesus want to level up in your life? What areas of your life does Jesus want to take from glory to glory? All of it! Every area! Are you married? Jesus wants you to level up! Are you single? Jesus wants you to level up!
Are you a father, a mother, a grandfather, a grandmother, Jesus wants you to level up! Are you a student, an employee, an employer, retiree, Jesus wants you to level up! Do you have breath in your lungs, a pulse, if you do, Jesus wants you to level up!
In every area, in all aspects of your life, Jesus is calling you and me to get in the game, get off our spiritual coach and level up! To do so there are some things that we have got to let go of, some things that we can’t take with us if we are going to level up.
1. To level up we need to go from FAILURE to FREEDOM!
Do you know what the word redeem means? To compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something, gain or regain possession of something in exchange for payment. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross we have been redeemed, redemption is found in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
There is freedom in knowing that we are in Christ. It is not up to us, he is making us new, he is making us into the people we were created to be. Leave your failures behind and embrace the freedom that is found in Christ!
2. To level up we need to go from I THINK So to THIS I KNOW!
The disciples walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, ate with Jesus, had their hopes in Jesus. Then Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted, crucified, and buried. Peter, John, Matthew, must have thought was he the Christ? Was he really the Messiah? I think so? I thought he was? Maybe not. Guess its over!
Then Jesus appears to them, fills in the gaps in there understanding tells them to wait and receive power from on high, called the Holy Spirit, and then what happens they go from I think so, to this I know.
For us to level up we need to move from I think so, to this I know! Then we need to allow the Holy Spirit to work, and confirm His word in our lives and we need to proclaim that word boldly.
To who? To yourself first! You can’t proclaim to the world something you have not fully believed yourself. You might be what you eat, but you are most defiantly what you think!
3.To level up we need to go from INTERESTED to INTIMATE!
There are a lot of things that I find to be interesting, the sun, the moon, the stars, politics, how people can be a professional bass fisherman, archery, the Olympics. There are very few things that I would say I have an intimate relationship with.
That I am closely acquainted with, have a very close connection to, a detailed, thorough, exhaustive knowledge off, that is what it means to be intimate.
God is not just interested in us he wants to be in an intimate relationship with us so much so that he did not say he would be by our side he said that he would take up residence in us and invite us to reside in him. If we want to level up then we must stop being interested in God and develop and purse and intimate relationship with him.
4. To level up we need to go from WANDERING to WORSHIPING!
Worship is not just the singing that happens at church, it’s a lifestyle.
We worship God in our work, in our family, in our attitudes and action. The Bible says we present our body to God, we give him all of ourselves and this is true worship.
Not a song that we sing but a life that we live. Yours and my heart want to wander, and it is a casual thing that left unchecked will lead us aimlessly away from God. Developing a heart of worship realigns our hearts and purposefully directs it back to where all true worship belong, before God.
Jesus came to take your life to another level, over and over again, each and every day! Make today the day you chose to take him up on the offer.
Stop hedging your bets, stop keeping him as just another option, or go to in a pinch. Make him your number 1 priority, align your will and life around him, make him the centerpiece, cornerstone, bedrock of your life and see if you don’t level up!
See if you don’t level up in your marriage, level up at your job, level up in your friendships, level up in your parenting, level up in your faith, level up in your joy, level up in your peace, level up in your long-suffering, level up in your patience, level up in your finances, level up in your witness to him, level up in your boldness, level up in your worship!
Are you ready to level up?