Every year since I can remember, my family has done "gifts to Jesus" on New Years Eve. Each person writes down a few things they want to accomplish over the year that are directly related to spiritual growth. Nick and I have continued on with this tradition since we've been married and this year I committed to reading through the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs in my One-Year Bible(you know, the kind that are divided into 365 days). The twist was that every day I would write down one verse from my reading in a daily planner. This concept is one my mom has been doing for years. I'm not sure why I've never done it until now, but nevertheless, the concept finally grabbed me and I've been doing it for the past 5 months. And I've got to say, my mom was on to something! At least for me, who is VERY list-inclined, having something that marks my progress everyday has been amazing at bringing me back again and again to God's Word, linked together the storyline as it has come out, and stuck with me as I go about my daily life. Thanks mom.
The reason I'm writing about it now is because I've reached a milestone. As of June 2nd, I have officially come to the end of the Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. January First to June Second have been 5 months of the life of Jesus. From birth to death to resurrection to ascension, 4 times in a row, every day. Granted, I did miss some days, but by the sweet power of Jesus I'm happy to say I have stuck to it.
So there are a few traits about Jesus that stood out to me as I was reading through His life on earth. I know Scripture is living and active so whenever you read it you will be impacted in the ways God is currently teaching you. So now that I'm moving on to Acts, here are the things about Jesus that stood out to me over and over again as I've been reading through the Gospels:
#1. He was patient.
Not that I didn't already know this, but his patience as a teacher and a leader really stood out to me. He patiently healed and spoke to crowd after crowd after crowd, knowing that many of them weren't getting it. He patiently led and taught the disciples when they continuously had no idea what He meant. He patiently allowed Judas to be his disciple for 3 years knowing that he would ultimately betray Him. He patiently poured into this group of 12 men, well-aware that they were missing a key ingredient needed to graduate-The Holy Spirit. Sure, He knew what would come, but still, imagine being a brilliant basketball coach, given a so-so team, and coaching them day in and day out with all you had, the only catch being, you were practicing without a ball, for 3 years. (Metaphor compliments of the NBA finals) That takes patience.
Jesus Patience translated to Emily's life:
I almost want to laugh at the fact that patience stood out to me. I consider myself a pretty patient person. Have that one down pretty good. But a very wise pediatrician once said to me, "Being a parent is being patient when you are not." So true. It turns out that it is harder to be patient when you aren't getting that much sleep, or when you have a wild 2 year old boy that seems to want to disobey in the same way all day long, or when it took an hour to finally get in the car to run errands and as soon as you are loaded up you're 3 month old starts wailing and a fantastic stink comes wafting your way from the toddler. Actually, it's not hard to be patient then, it's hard to choose to be patient. So Jesus has reminded me that He knows. He gets it. He said the SAME thing, taught the SAME lesson, day in and day out, because they just didn't get it right away, or even after a while. Jesus chose to do it, so I will choose to be like Jesus.
#2. He was Brave.
I was impacted by 2 things about Jesus' courage. First of all, there were quite a few times where the Bible says something about people being ready to kill Jesus, but He just walked away because it wasn't His time. Those have to have been pretty tense moments for Him. Yet it seems that over and over again He went where He knew He needed to be regardless of the obvious danger to Him. You have to be brave to do that. Secondly, He knew when it was His last day, and of course we know that He was, to say the least, nervous, that's what the Bible tells us. But still, He never missed a step. He never stopped moving forward in those hours. Ultimately, He was fully trusting God in every moment of His life, but the daily choices to physically walk in and out of cities, to break the bread, pour the wine, wash the feet, stand quietly through His trial, took so much bravery.
Jesus Bravery translated to Emily's life:
This one reaches beyond my actual life season right now, straight in to my spirit. I am not brave. I don't like risking things, I don't like being alone, I automatically jump to the worst-case scenario. I am a natural worrier. When I wake up in the middle of the night and I am half-awake, the thing I do the best is worry. My mind will naturally swing to the most worrisome life situation and it will turn into a monster. God has PATIENTLY taught me to give up my worry, but I am challenged again by Jesus to be brave. Not like do something dangerous, but have so much trust in my God that I can carry peace with me into all things. I loved reading this verse, John 14:27, "I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." I love that I have access to tough peace! It won't break when it smashes in to something. I seem to regularly worry that I will smash in to something. I need to stop and trust the gift I have been given. That would be brave.
And those are my highlights. Jesus, I've loved this time observing your steps. Now let's meet the church!
And as a sidenote of encouragement, for what it's worth-this is not a 45 minute a day study. This is 5ish minutes with my Bible and a $3 planner from Target. But God has met me there! He does that.