Happy New Year!
I cannot believe 2018 is here already! I pray you are recovering from all the Holiday festivities – whether they were marvelous or messy! Either way, the turning of the calendar brings us 365 opportunities to Rise and Shine.
I love all the possibilities and expectations that come with a fresh new year! And I’m excited to share with you my “one word” for 2018, which is also the topic of our first series of the year. Much like my 2017 word, INVEST, I’ll be using it as a watch word for the year. Something to guide me as I seek God’s will for my life, family, writing, crafting, health, and relationships.
My first inclination was to base my word on the popular verse nestled in the Beatitudes where Jesus tells His followers to SHINE.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
If you’ve ever attended a kids’ Sunday School class for more than a week or two you’ve probably heard we are supposed to let our little lights shine. But what does that even mean? And why does it seem like we struggle so much to shine in this dark world? What keeps us from shining as brightly as we ought? What do we do when our shine gets tarnished? Is it possible to shine and remain humble? Should we avoid shining if we’re smudged by some past or present struggle? We’re going to tackle all those tough topics and more in the next few weeks!
If I’m honest, I was a whole lot more excited about this word before I started researching. So, I’m glad God gave me some time between deciding on the word and sharing it with you, because I’ve learned a lot. And I think this word is going to be far more challenging than I first thought. Can I confess a little something? My first emotion was excitement over the prospect of finally being noticed…. I’m gonna shine for God and people are finally going to see me! Ahem, I mean see Him.
I was caught up in the idea that to SHINE meant I was going to have my moment in the sun. I would to achieve all the success I’ve been working toward for so long. Maybe God would even help me discover new ways to get noticed, for Him of course. The image of me standing on the mountaintop arms raised facing the sun came to mind a time or two. But now, I’m convinced I. Was. Wrong.
As I’ve prayed and studied this word, I’ve discovered a thing or two about shining that have me shaking in my cute winter boots.
Things that shine have been forged in the fire. They’ve been purified by pressure and honed over time. They are meant to bring light to the dark. And they are tested.Why the idea of SHINING for God has me shaking in my cute winter boots. #shine #matthew5:16 #AriseandShine #oneword Click To Tweet
Rise and Shine
I wake my boys every morning with a singsongy, “Rise and Shine!” They don’t really love hearing it before the sun breaks over the horizon, but I just can’t help myself (probably because I’ve already downed my first cup of coffee). Until I started diving into this word, I never really gave much thought to where that phrase came from. It turns out this phrase has origins in both the Bible and the military (fitting for me).
Dating back to the 1800’s Soldiers were asked to wake up early and excel at their duties enthusiastically. The idea was that starting the day in a positive manner would make the necessary work go well. To rise and shine assumes we are awake and alert, ready to tackle every obstacle life throws at us.
Centuries earlier, the prophet Isaiah called out to the Israelites, pleading for them to do the same.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”
His call was for a Spiritual awakening so that they would not miss God’s coming glory in the person of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I could probably use a wake up call like that myself. A loud voice to raise me from my spiritual slumber at the end of some messy months or a difficult decade. What better time than now, the beginning of a new year, to rise up and SHINE!What better time than now, the beginning of a new year, to rise up and SHINE! #AriseandShine #shine #2018 #oneword Click To Tweet
Being asleep in the Bible doesn’t literally mean sleeping. Sometimes it means death, but it this passage it suggests a believer who has become insensitive, unresponsive, cold-hearted, uncaring, incurious, or unconcerned about the things of God. One whose faith was inactive, or even dead. Isaiah was calling the Israelite people to wake up from Spiritual slumber.
Today, too, the world has lulled God’s people into a spiritual slackness similar to slumber. We are not living as though God’s Word is relevant, or as though our conduct matters. And we are certainly not living with the expectation that Jesus’s return is imminent.
Do any of those apply to Christians you know? Or maybe to you?
Rise and Shine 2018
Before we can SHINE our little lights for Him, we have to ARISE. Awaken from spiritual laziness and complacency. Become more aware of His Spirit and follow His leading. Notice His work in our lives and the lives of those around us. Soften our hearts to people who are hurting. Be curious about the Word and our Savior. Respond to our salvation with praise and gratitude. Become more concerned about the things of God than the things of this world.
For us today, a combination of both the Biblical and military ideas is pertinent. We are to be spiritually aware of our circumstances as well as to go about our duties, those good works God has prepared for us, with a good attitude. In this way we will shine for the glory of God. Because Paul’s warning to the Romans about Jesus’ imminent return is even closer to reality for us today than it was in the First Century.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep;
for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
Therefore let us cast off the works of the darkness,
and let us put on the armor of light.”
I love how Paul combines the military and spiritual metaphors here. He sends forth a call for God’s people to wake up and put on their armor, God’s armor, because the day is at hand. Jesus is returning and when He does I want to be standing firmly under the protection of the gospel of salvation. Don’t you?
An Invitation to Rise and Shine
As I wake my children tomorrow morning singing, “Rise and Shine and give God the glory,” I want them recognize it as an invitation to give all those they come into contact with a little glimpse of our great big God.
That invitation is for us, too! As this new year begins, let’s commit to Rise and Shine for the glory of God in 2018!
Join us over the next few weeks as we discover just what it means to SHINE our little lights.Join us over the next few weeks & discover just what it means to SHINE our little lights. #letyourlightshine #ariseandshine #shine #2018 #oneword Click To Tweet
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light.