Well here we are. It’s 2020 and we have an opportunity to start again and be better than we were last year. This is a great time to align ourselves with God and to give ourselves over to His will for our lives. Some call these resolutions, others call them goals but either way, the greatest thing we can do, is keep Jesus number one.
This particularly is a challenge because distractions come at us every day. Our pace is fast, our technology is a blessing and a curse and then we have the schedules we keep. All of this can be a juggling act; therefore, when Jesus is number one, we’re empowered to have the right order and perspective in our lives. So, as we exit the holidays, it’s a good time to recollect, gather our thoughts and set our heart on Him because the best is yet to come.
When I think of this posture, I think about the gifts we received for Christmas. It’s likely many of us got clothes as presents, particularly, shirts or sweaters. These can make great gifts and when it’s something we like, we can’t wait to wear it at the right time for the right occasion. For example, this year my son Davin got a sweatshirt and a jersey of his favorite NBA player. When he got it, I thought he was going to cry tears of joy and it’s all he wears around the house. He’s sporting a shirt he likes. I’m sure we’ve done the same thing a time or two but as we get older, this question is asked when we get these gifts, “Does your shirt fit.”
So I ask you, does your shirt fit?
I don’t know about you, but It’s a hassle when a gift like this doesn’t fit. While I’m thankful for the gift, I’m bummed there are more steps to take before I can wear It. This has probably happened to all of us at some point in our gift receiving, but it’s also a BIG spiritual truth for our lives. In fact, it’s massive!
Did you know the Bible talks about spiritual shirts?
That’s right, we have a shirt to wear in our faith and it connects to every aspect of our lives. I mean every aspect of our lives.
Ephesians 6:14 says,
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
This is a piece of armor we wear through faith as we live this life for Jesus. Notice, it’s the breastplate or the shirt that covers our torso. This was a vital piece of armor in the ancient world for any solider as it protected primarily the heart. It also covered the lungs and stomach. These areas were targets of the enemy to mortally wound someone and when it comes to our faith, it’s the same.
The enemy is after our heart and so is God. It’s the prize possession that determines every detail of our lives. This is why the enemy loves to plant seeds of doubt, anger, lust, greed, pride, arrogance, resentment, hate and more in our heart because when he does, he can dangle our lives over the fires of chaos and wreak havoc.
But the same potential is in Christ, if not more. He wants our heart not our performance. I would even say, He wants hearts more than our knowledge. When He has our hearts, He plants love, peace, joy, faith, trust, courage, hope and power. He gives life and life more abundantly when He has our hearts.
So notice the lynchpin for life is revealed in our heart. Our choice is, who is going to occupy it. When God does, everything is better and the result of life is powerful.
Whoever has our heart will reflect in how we live. Check out another verse.
Proverbs 4:23 says,
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
This is why is it’s so important we have the right shirt on. But does it fit?
The answer to this question is revealed in how we treat others and in how we think of ourselves. For example, are we forgiving others? This is BIG as so many times we can live with resentment and grudges. But Jesus said, forgive those who have done you wrong (see Mark 11:25-26). When our shirt fits, we’re empowered to walk in love and to forgive. Another aspect is, are we preferring others? This is a BIG life change we have through Jesus which is, to prefer others over ourselves. I like to say it this way, “pride makes excuses but humility makes adjustments.” When the shirts fits, we are making adjustments with those in our lives. We’re not insisting on our way or demanding others do it a certain way or else. These attitudes are not Christ and they reflect a problem in the size we have on. One more aspect is, are we giving grace to others or are we writing them off? I heard one leader say, “when it comes to us, we’re amazing attorneys. When it comes to others, we’re an amazing judge.” The grace we give others is often the grace we’re giving to ourselves and this is BIG in our faith. His grace is sufficient for our lives, so it’s important we see others through that grace too. It’s easy to cast people off, put them aside and shut them out because of whatever, but did Jesus do this to us? Of course not!
Yet, this happens a lot in our lives but when the shirt fits, it’s showing grace and mercy to others because He’s given us, so much grace and mercy too.
So when the shirt fits, we change. When the shirt fits, we are better to ourselves and to others. When the shirt fits, we are able to make Jesus known!
Does your shirt fit? How’s your heart toward yourself and toward others?
I encourage you to make it a priority that your shirt fits this year! It’s time we move forward in a healthy way. It’s time we let God into our hearts when it comes to ourselves and others. After all, this is where we practice our faith the most. This is where we can have the most impact. This is where we can make a difference for eternity.
If you find yourself with the enemy plaguing your heart, please confess these things to someone (see James 5:16). Reach out for help, to pull out the wrong things from within. Then, with purpose, pray His will for your heart and practice forgiving and loving yourself and others on a daily basis. Also, stay plugged in to church, be accountable and be accounted for, this does more good for us than we know.
If you find yourself with God filling your heart, keep going. Let Him fill more and more this year. Practice your faith and be sure, your shirt fits every day.
You’re too important to God and His plan is great for you. So let Jesus fill your heart and let His health, life and power come through you.
May 2020 be the best year you’ve ever had,