January 3, 2018·Tim Clark
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3
For me, the first week of January has long been a time of creative potential: I look at the clean slate of a year yet to be lived, and I imagine the possibilities ahead of me. For a year that has just been born, ANYTHING is possible.
But more than just using my own imagination, I invite the Spirit of the Lord to hover over the empty places in my life (and my schedule) and welcome Him to do a creative work in me. I ask the Lord to speak the words “let there be light” into the dark and shapeless parts of my own life, and then anticipate His creating all kinds of form and fruit and fullness out of nothing—the same way He did with our universe at the beginning of time.
That’s one of the things I love about kicking off the year reading the Bible in Genesis. Genesis 1 starts at the very beginning, when there was nothing yet created, nothing yet shaped, nothing yet scheduled. God took a whole lot of nothing and made it into something spectacular. And every time I read about that, I’m filled with anticipation that He can make something amazing in me out of the “not yet” of the year to come.
But then I read in Genesis 2 that after He created this something, He assigned part of His creation—human beings—to actively steward all that was created.
Whatever God is preparing to shape in you for this year, He also intends to invite you to steward that which He creates. Really, it’s a mind-blowing proposition: God makes something out of nothing in us, then He partners with us to steward that creation into fruitful and exponential multiplication.
I want to suggest that one of the ways God resources the multiplication of His good work in us is through our growing deep in intimacy with Him. The better we hear Him, the better we obey Him, the more on track we can be with His plans and purposes for our lives. And I would further suggest that one of the best ways to start to learn to hear Him is by being habitually immersed in His Word.
That’s why Pastor John Fehlen and I invest significant time every year to update and publish the “PAUSE” Bible Reading Plan we created some years ago. In fact, even this devotional email was produced in a collaborative effort. The plan itself is available online, and, over the last couple of years, The Church On The Way has given journals at the beginning of the year to anyone in the church who desires them, to encourage participation in reading the Bible together. In fact, you may not even be aware, but the weekly devotions our church sends out are always connected to that week’s readings in the plan!
If you don’t already have an intentional pattern of reading through the Bible, can I encourage you to pick up one of these journals this next Sunday (or just follow along online) and start to read God’s Word along with your church? If each of us would learn to get a word from God, from the Word of God, every day, and we would follow that word, I’m convinced our lives and our world would experience the manifestation of God’s creative purposes like we’ve never seen in our lifetime!