I am so thankful for my wife, Lisa. We’ll be celebrating 43 years of marriage this summer. Her love for and devotion to the Lord has been such an enriching factor in our marriage and ministry. I’m happy to share with you an outstanding article she just wrote.
Influence Beyond Your Generation
I have a dear friend, Judi Tillett, who recently shared with me that the Lord had quickened this phrase to her concerning the New Year: “Walk in the wonder of My Word.” In the moment, I wrote back and told her that I would let that sink in.
Since then, I’ve been carrying it in my heart, and this morning while doing my daily Bible reading, I began to think about how grateful I am to Paul, to Jesus’ disciples, to all involved who wrote the letters of the New Testament. Thankful for the perseverance they exhibited as they suffered for carrying His word in their hearts and outward lives. Thankful they heard the Holy Spirit clearly as they wrote the letters.
Thankful that God was at work within them to will and do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
I often think of that verse concerning my own life—I pray it concerning the lives of my family and friends. But it had never dawned on me that we have the Bible because people 2000 years ago said “Yes” to the Holy Spirit to work within them to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Then this next thought came to me. I saw the eternal importance of God at work within Jesus’ disciples for future peoples they likely had no comprehension of, expecting Jesus to have returned long before now. I thought about how vitally important “Christ in them” so long ago has been to us here and now.
This led to my next thought: How important will “Christ in us” be to future generations should the Lord tarry, maybe even thousands of more years?
I’m beginning to see His work in us—drawing us to Himself, sanctifying and making us fruitful—is not just for us and for those whose lives we affect right now, during our lifetimes. The disciples and apostles were not thinking about how their lives would affect us in 2022, but where would we be without them? Those early disciples may not have realized the full extent of God’s plan, but He did. Hebrews 11:40 indicates it was God’s plan “that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
Thinking about this makes me quietly reverent, even as I consider that my life is not my own, and that I have no idea what all God may choose to do through my life for the benefit of those I’m not even thinking about.
We know from Scripture that the people Jesus chose to be His disciples were like you and I, ordinary humans. It’s Him at work within us that makes us valuable for God’s overarching plan of revealing Himself to the world, no matter what year it is.
It’s humbling to realize it is not my call as to what God will do with my life, yet also liberating to trust that my “Yes” to whatever He asks me to do is enough for Him to do as He pleases.
I was driving through Rocky Mountain National Park this past October, delighted by the sunlight shining through the yellow-gold aspen leaves. They were radiant because of the sunlight and I knew in that moment that God does the same through his people, and that I wanted Him to do that through me. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of man” (John 1:4) rose up in my heart as I thought about what I was seeing. His life in us is His light through us.
Philippians 1:20 in the Passion Translation says, “No matter what, I will continue to hope and passionately cling to Christ, so that He will be openly revealed through me before everyone’s eyes.” This is my heart cry for 2022 and will be for the rest of the years of my life.
I feel it is important for me to consider that the others I am commanded to love may not only be those around me, but may be those I will never meet, never even know about, because they may live centuries beyond my earthly life. I will likely never have the opportunity to know the impact of my life on theirs until Heaven, so it will be an unmeasurable tangible.
This truly is a walk of faith. Faith walks depend on Scripture to guide and encourage, and so I circle back to how much my life in 2022 is affected by those in the first century who said yes to the Holy Spirit, those who walked in the wonder of His Word to them so we could do the same.
Father, help us to be sensitive to every impulse of Your heart, that we may always say “Yes” to You when You direct us. Thank You for all the lives through all the years that have helped us know You, trust You, and obey You, so that others beside us and beyond us will also know, trust and obey You. We honor Your work in this world, filled with Your glory, as the life and light of Christ in us reveals Your heart for Your creation.