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  • Writer's pictureChris Chandler

Choose To Stay

I love this time of year. A New Year with new possibilities. It’s the time of year that we all slow down and look at our life. We evaluate our results from the previous year and try to figure out what we can do differently in the new.

This week I was thinking about the church that I was born again in. At the beginning of each year, the pastor would stand in the pulpit and declare “This is the year of… ________.”

Most of the time it was the year of faith, growth, blessings, or something everyone would love to hear. One time our pastor didn’t tell us. After praying and praying, trying to learn how to discern the voice of God in my own life, our pastor tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to preach on a Wednesday night.

You see, it was mid-January by this point, and typically he would announce to us the “This is the year of ________” by the first week of the New Year. When he asked me if I had a word? I told my pastor, “I sure do…”

Later that week I stood in the pulpit and boldly declared to the congregation that “This is the year of purification, and God said that judgment will begin in the house of the Lord.”

That’s one way to get everyone’s attention! The word came to pass and within eight months the church split and unfortunately many people were hurt. Seeing people get hurt from this event was never God’s intention, it was simply a byproduct of the event. But sitting back and watching the sinful actions of some in leadership within the church is also not in God’s nature.

It’s been said if it’s in the pew, it’s in the pulpit. Judgment will always begin in the house of the Lord.

Fast forward several years and I can’t remember the last time a heard a pastor make such a bold declaration. Which made me wonder, what is this the year of?

As I was praising and worshiping last week in church, this thought came to my mind. This is the year of Choosing to Stay.

So, what does that exactly mean? Choose to stay where? How do we choose to stay? These and many other questions sprang into my mind.

Simply put, this is the year that we choose to stay in His will. Choose to stay in His grace. We choose obedience to His will and His Word. Not out of some legalistic or moral obligation, but from a heart of love.

I’m not for one second suggesting obedience from a since of trying to earn our salvation or even His favor. Choosing to stay in His will because we are His children, and we love our Father.

You may not know what its like to have grown up in a home with a loving father. That’s okay, I suppose most people don’t. Regardless of how your earthly father was to you, your heavenly father loves you unconditionally. I know that’s hard for us to wrap our minds around but pray and ask God to reveal to you what that looks like this year.

Life is full of choices and options. Every day, throughout the day we make choices that either take us closer to God in our relationship with Him, or potentially disrupt that relationship. What will you choose in 2022?

Will you choose to stay in His will? I think we can all agree this is a seemingly impossible task, but at the same time we would all probably agree it’s an area we can all consciously do better in.

So, how do we choose to stay in His will? For me to make such a bold declaration that I’m going to choose to stay in His will this year would be seemingly impossible. Therefore, I have to break things down into much more manageable goals.

I could choose to stay in His will this month... but I’ve already blown that. I could choose to stay in His will this week, but even that seems to be like too long a period of time. I could choose to stay in His will today, and sometimes that works.

But what I found that works best for me is choosing to say in His will right now. I’m not concerned about tomorrow success; I’m focused on staying in His will today. Right now!

To do that, one of the things I do is I’ll take my wedding ring and without removing it from my finger I will spin it in a circle. Spinning the ring in a full 360 degrees to me signifies that I’m choosing to stay in covenant with God and in His will.

How about you? What will you do? How will you choose to stay in His will? If you’re with me, comment below and let us know, “I choose to stay.” We’ll know what you mean, and when others ask, there’s the opportunity you’re been praying for.

Until next time… Be blessed.

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