How will you figure out the way to live and work this year? How will you know how to spend your time? How will you define yourself?
These are hard questions, and it would be wise not to assume that you have figured them out already. I certainly don’t know your answers, but I do know this: your answers to the how/what questions will be determined by your completion of phrases which begin with “I am”. What you do/how you spend, will start with who you are, and who you are always starts with “I am”. What I am now sure of is that your “I am” does not start with you (or me). Our “I am-s” will originate in the “I AM-s” of the Son of Man.
So that’s where I am going to start this year. The Son of Man spoke many staggering sentences containing “I AM”. If you listen you can hear him revealing breath-taking and profound truths upon which you can feed as you become your “I AM”.
Listen to this one:
I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am (John 8:58)
Do you want to know how a Jewish carpenter in his early thirties became sure that he could say these words? You don’t have to guess, he tells you. I’ll put it in one paragraph.
His Father told him. His Father showed him.
Check it out: the Son of Man, in a heated debate, tells his opponents (who wanted to kill him by now) that he “heard the truth from God” (John 8:40)
So in this New Year, here is a thought for you. If you want to know who you are: what “I am” looks like for you, it will be God who shows you: you will need to hear it from your Father.
How do you do that? The Son of Man shows you the Father. How does he do that? By sending the Spirit of God into your soul to teach you from the inside out. How does the Spirit do that? Many ways, but one of them is showing you the living word in the written word. By showing you the Son of Man in the Bible. The Spirit uses teachers of all kinds to do that. So as you read these next words, I pray that all those dynamics will combine for you.
So the Son of Man pronounces that he knows that he existed before Abraham, who most likely lived 1900 years prior to these words. What is he saying?
He is saying “I am timeless”. The Son of Man isn’t speaking ancient truths, he is speaking timeless truths. He sees himself in the context of eternity past, and future. To be more accurate, he sees himself as outside of time altogether, while living in time now.
How does that help you right now? Well, what are your goals? What are your ambitions? What are your fears? What are your hopes and dreams this year?
Consider how they will be shaped if you realize that being in Christ (more on this when we look at the vine and branches) you are connected to the timeless one.
Your life is not just about this year or next. Your work is not about what you achieve now, it is about timeless achievement, eternal values.
I can’t tell you everything that that means for you. I can give you an example of what it means to me as I write this piece right now.
Currently I am working on several large writing projects. I don’t know yet how I will publish them, but my Father has shown me a truth. It goes something like this: “you don’t have to find a publisher, you have to write what I am showing you”.
This has led me to conclude an obvious truth. If I don’t write it, it can’t be published! Once written, it can be published before, or even after I die. I am a writer, so I will write.
What story do you have to tell, being aware of timelessness?
Some things that seem so important, fade in that light, while others come in to sharp focus. It’s not time that will tell, but the timeless God who will tell you. Time management needs to be harnessed to timelessness. Listen to the words of God, even though you still hear the ticking clock.
57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
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