I woke up late one morning and instead of going right to prayer with my Bible open, I went straight to my morning walk and then on with my day. I found throughout the morning there was something that kept pulling at me, a thought or an image, but I didn't actually pay much attention to it. Soon I remembered I hadn't gotten up early enough for my usual quiet time and maybe I could stop and do it now. But when the thought would come, I would by-pass it with what ever I was doing at the time and before I knew it, the day was over and it was time to go to bed.
In the book, Invitation to a Journey, M. Robert Mulholland Jr. writes about God's desire that we be conformed to the image of Christ. This is not an easy task as that conforming must take place in the places that are very un-Christ-like! Our call is to come out of brokenness into wholeness. This means we must die in those broken places in order for God to transform us into the image of his Son.
Who wants to go through the process of dying to the things that already hurt?
Mulholland goes on to explain using a picture of God standing at the closed doors of our hearts where we have shut him out. The love and grace of God will knock and knock and knock, wanting us to open the door, to face the truth of our brokenness, but he will "not force open the door."
As George MacDonald writes:
This image reminded me how sometimes I feel a nudging toward something... like, being alone with God. Or perhaps giving someone a call, choosing to not be offended, stopping to pray, not letting that unnecessary or unkind word come out of my mouth, letting fear harass me, my desire to nestle in with a bad attitude or the need to forgive someone (the list could go on...) but I resist. I'm busy and I have things to do so I push away the gentle soft suggestion and continue on my way...and say the thing or hold on to that which should be let go. It is subtle. It is not pushy or loud. It feels like my own thought that I can quickly un-invite.
But the picture of God at the door of my brokenness has opened in me a stronger desire to be open to opening the door when I sense the Spirit's asking. It seems to be something I resist. I naturally want my way in those hardened areas.
In Proverbs 8:34 Wisdom calls out: Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
If I want to grow wise, more mature in my faith, more like Christ, it is time to identify those moments and nod a yes to what I'm being asked to do.
In Revelation 3:20 the Spirit earnestly announced that the church in Laodicea was lukewarm in their faith. They were so tasteless He desired to spit them out! He wanted to discipline them and find them earnest and willing to repent! He went on to say, "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door. I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
He's knocking at the door of their brokenness, their sin, their places so unlike Christ. And somehow I see him asking me to open some doors that have comfortably remained closed these many years. Deeper places of the heart where he asks me to not be afraid or unwilling to trust him.
So my word for this year is OPEN THE DOOR. I know it isn't a word, it is a phrase, but it is my choice for a reminder to be open to a deeper "yes" and to stop the resistance in areas where I am unsure, unclear, lacking in confidence or unwilling to welcome Christ.
It's a big task, a lifelong one. But for today I have this image: my hand is on the door. Will I pay attention and be willing to respond so God can do His deeper work in me? That is my desire.
Do you have a word? I'd love to know it and why you have chosen it. Please leave it in the comments. Maybe I'll make you a cute word-picture like mine!