With the start of each new year, I come before my God and ask Him this question: What is our word and our Bible verse for this year?
Throughout that year, I am keenly aware of that word. I anticipate God speaking that word into my life in many different ways throughout the year. I am listening for it in sermons and bible studies, searching God’s Word to learn more about that word, memorizing Bible verses using that word, eagerly awaiting God’s lessons pertaining to that word. In year’s past, together God and I have learned more about hope, love, joy, peace, patience, endurance, purpose, strength, boldness. to name just a few. This yearly practice has been a good spiritual growth motivator for me. It keeps me more focused on God and what He wishes to teach me. I’ve seen a lot of growth in my own spiritual life because I engage in this yearly practice.
For the year 2020, God and I have chosen the word GRACE.
And our verse, uniquely enough, since I am already studying there, comes from the Book of Psalms. Chapter 84 and verse 11. It says:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Let me unpack this precious Bible verse with you, as God shared its truths with me during our quiet time this morning.
GRACE – I’ve heard it said (and you might have already heard this too) that grace is so often referred to as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” And that is a great way to remember its meaning. Grace is a gift! It’s given to us at the time of our salvation (Ephesians 2:8). God reminded me that my spiritual journey began with His grace! I smile at that thought! It is so precious to me. Without God and His abundant gift of grace, I have nothing! I am nothing! But, my friend, I know, because of God’s grace, I am a child of God! Forever His!
God’s gift of grace is freely given. His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, freely gave His own life, through death on a cross, so that I could freely be given God’s grace. Christ paid the cost. Grace and my salvation, have cost me nothing. I did not have to do anything to earn it. It cost me nothing. I certainly don’t deserve God’s grace, being the sinner that I am. But, praise You dear God, You freely gave me Your gift of grace at the time of my salvation. And, You have been freely giving me more and more of Your grace ever since. What a gift!
GLORY – Our spiritual journey begins with grace. It is going to end in glory! My life goes from grace to glory! I sat and meditated upon that thought for the longest time. From grace to glory! That truth brings joy to my soul. That’s how the story of my life goes: it begins with grace and ends with glory! Not my own glory, but God’s glory! One day I will stand in glory (heaven) in the presence of the God I love dearly. I will enjoy His glory forever and ever. Oh, that will be glory for me!!
Truth of the matter is though, that our journey from grace to glory is a difficult one. God doesn’t promise us an easy life at all, but He does promise that He will be with us in that journey (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5). I’m so glad that I don’t have to walk that journey alone, not ever!
I also love what 1 Peter 5:10 says, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.” No one likes to suffer. But the truth of the matter is this; our lives are filled with periods of suffering in one form or another. The perfecting, establishing, strengthening and settling work of God that comes to us, as a result of that suffering, is all done through God’s grace. Undeserved. Unearned. All freely given. God’s got us covered. God’s walking the journey of our life with us, taking care of each and every detail of the journey with His grace. Oh, what a gift!
As we walk this journey with Him, we need to remind ourselves of this truth from Psalm 84:11: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield.” Another great promise to us. Let’s look at it in more detail.
SUN – It gives light in the dark places. It speaks of provision and sufficiency. As we walk with God, He lightens the pathway of life that He wants us to walk upon. He shows us, step by step, which way we are to walk. With all the ups and downs, twists and turns, bends and boulders that we may face on that pathway, we have to know and learn (and thus love) the fact that He walks with us, so we have no fear of the darkness that looms over us. His light (sun) provides us a valuable resource for the journey. Without that resource of light, we would be in total darkness and fear. In knowing that we have God’s light, and His provision, we also have His sufficiency for the journey. All that we need, He will provide. We walk in light as He is the light!
SHIELD – It speaks of protection and security. Along our journey, we will no doubt face hardships, difficulties, encounter evil, perhaps persecution and other unforeseen struggles. It is good to know that we have a God who is not only walking with us on that journey, but He is our protection and security. He will shield us from all forms of danger. He will be with us when we encounter them. He will forever be our shield!
NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD – As we journey through this life with God, from grace to glory, He will be sharing all good things with us. What are those good things? Whatever He deems them to be! Material things? Perhaps. Emotional things? No doubt. Spiritual things? Absolutely. Spiritual things like: helping us to understand His Word, teaching us to love, trust, obey, and serve Him, opening our eyes, our mind, our heart to learn and love Him more and more. All of these good things (and so many more!) come from our God. Along our journey of life with our God, He will no doubt shower us with His blessings, His promises, His presence, His everything! All good things will be given to us in His time, and in the way He wants to share them with us. And as we wait for those good things to be revealed, we are to walk boldly knowing that “no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
WALK UPRIGHTLY – What does it mean to “walk uprightly?” It means to walk in the light, trusting in His provision and sufficiency. It means knowing that He is your shield, protecting you and keeping you secure at all times. It means loving Him, obeying His Word, and serving Him as He gives you opportunity. It means opening your heart to Him and letting Him be your guide through life. It means trusting Him with every aspect of your life. It means walking righteously in His presence.
Grace is a good word for this new year of 2020. Psalm 84:11 contains a very precious promise that I choose to carry with me through the year ahead. We start our true journey through this life of ours with God’s grace. We continue the journey by trusting God’s sufficient provision and protection, knowing we are secure in His presence. And then, in God’s perfect timing, we end our journey by entering into the glory of the Lord!
From grace to glory!
Lead the way, Lord God!