December 19, 2018
Making My List and Checking It Twice
Friend to Friend
Every year, I make a Christmas list comprised of every person for whom I am buying a gift. Beside each name, I write a dollar amount - a limit for how much money I will spend on that gift - and whole-heartedly declare not to spend one penny more.
Somehow, the amount I actually spend rarely coincides with the amount I intended to spend, but I digress.
With every purchase, I then draw a beautiful red line through that name.
I carry that list everywhere I go because there are evil people lurking in my home who will go to any lengths to find that list. Why? Because I am the Queen of Christmas Surprise! I have to guard the Secret Santa List with my life in order to keep my “Queen-ship” status secure.
The Secret Santa list is hidden in unusual places such as a random file on my computer, in the pocket of an old purse, in my sock drawer – you get the picture.
I know where that Christmas list is at all times because it is my gift-giving plan for the holidays.
I wish I were just as concerned about my God List. I know I need to seek God and His plan for my life through the Word, but there are days when I don’t spend enough time reading and studying the Bible to discern that plan.
I know I need to pray like crazy to make it through each and every day. Instead, I plead for escape routes from the problems staring me in the face.
I really want to carry His life plan for me in my heart and mind, constantly making choices and decisions in light of that list, guarding it like the treasure map of eternity that it truly is.
But I have come to realize that just knowing God’s plan for my life does not guarantee success.
I must do the plan. That is where obedience comes in. An obedient heart is a “fixed” heart - the only gift God wants from us this holiday season.
“O God, my heart is fixed!”
A “fixed” heart is a determined heart, a steadfast heart that is rightly focused on God and on His plan instead of insisting on clinging to our own personal agenda. When we choose to follow God’s plan, the desires of our heart will line up in obedience to that plan, and we will do what we were created to do.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It isn’t.
We must be deliberate in our obedience. Every choice we make, every word we say, every thought we think demands a radical obedience to the standards of God.
Life is so daily, isn’t it? And about the time we think we have it all figured out, God arranges a reality check to remind us that without Him – we will fail.
Failure is not final. It is inevitable. We are frail human beings. We are mortal.
But there is good news! Our greatest opportunities to grow are often packaged in the ruins of failure. The fact that we are frail humans makes us desperate for God. Our greatest hope is fulfilled by the fact that Jesus came, lived, and died to make it possible for us to know Him.
Knowing God changes absolutely everything.
Maybe today is a good time to stop, go back over the list, and review those life lessons we have learned, checking to see where we really are in our walk with God.
Maybe today is the perfect time to revisit the manger and truly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by giving Him the gift of obedience.
Father, I love You. Please forgive me for the times I have chosen to follow my own plan instead of Yours. Teach me how to fix my heart on You and give me the strength to do what You created me to do. Today, I choose to live each day in a radical obedience to You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Record James 1:22 in your journal. Circle the action words. Ask God to show you the first step you need to take in order to obey the truth He has given you.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22, NKJV).
More from the Girlfriends
True love does not collapse in the hard times. How can we experience that kind of love? In her CD message, Love That Never Fails, Mary will help you learn how to discover a love that never fails. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through E-mail, Twitter, Instagram, Shopify, or on Facebook.
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Originally published Wednesday, 19 December 2018.