We stand at the door of a new year. The time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is a great time to reflect upon all the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. For many, we like to pick a word that will be our word for the year. Do you have a word for you in 2024?
What is my Word?
Many like to have a word they pick for the year. These words summarize what they hope their life will embody in the new year. They are words that summarize your hopes and dreams, fears you want to overcome, or goals you want to meet. I thought curious would be my word at first. A while back, I had the thought to stay curious. And while that is a word for me, another word has entered the equation: congruence. Congruence is a curious word to me. Congruence is the fleshing out or living out what I know to be true. It’s the word becoming flesh. It’s bringing out the core truth of what you believe and not living down or differently because of the fear of what others might think. The word for me is curiosity and congruence, working together in the coming year.
The word congruence became a contender when reading As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson (affiliate link). Peterson writes, “The Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congru-ence-congruence between ends and means, congruence between what we do and the way we do it, congruence between what is written in Scripture and our living out what is written, congruence between a ship and its prow, congruence between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation, the congruence of the Word made flesh in Jesus with what is lived in our flesh.”
I believe what Paul wrote: In Him, we live, move, and have our being. God abundantly loves us; we can be friends with God and forever grow in the grace of God. Congruence is fleshing out all God is to me. It is our daily living, our interacting and loving our family and friends, and it is our work and doing it well, our ministry, and all that makes each of us as individuals; it’s giving thanks always, loving others as Christ loved us, and working with our hands as though we are doing it unto Christ. Our work can be holy. Our work can bless and bring joy to others. It can bless even our enemies. Our work is a service of love to bring about something good. It’s working to leave the world a better place. Congruence is fleshing out what we know to be true. It goes beyond thoughts and ideas. It’s much like the two disciples realizing it was Jesus they had been walking with down the road to Emmaus.
“Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32
Looking up at the stars
When I was around thirteen, my friend and I were lying in his yard looking at a sky full of stars. We began talking about God and wondering what He was like. Neither of us went away with an answer but a question. The Lord would answer this question in time. I know Him now. Jesus is the very heart of God. He is the light of life to me. And here is where congruence comes in, the word being fleshed out in my life just as He fleshed out His life to us.
Building In The Garage
I have spent some time thinking about being like a child living in the care of my parents. I explored the woods on my own and with friends, built things, and did this all without the care of making a living or where the money would come from because I was in the care of my parents.
One particular memory I have took place in my dad’s garage. There I was with wood, nails, a saw, and a hammer. From the scraps of wood, I gave my attempt at making a gocart. I did this not for the desire to make money. My parents met my needs. It was building things for pure discovery and curiosity. I have done or not done things because of what would make more money. That is not congruent, and I am being more congruent about living out what desires and curiosities the Lord has put in me. It’s, as Jesus said, to become like a child. Do I trust God will take care of all my needs? Do I live unconstrained, living out what God has put in me, like that young boy I once was, building things in my dad’s garage under the care and provision of my father?
I desire this. To flesh out what I believe to be true. This is the reality of bearing fruit in our lives. Not hiding or becoming something we are not. I know who my God is now and what He has put in my heart. By the grace of God, I desire to live congruently with what I know is in me and what I do.
Praise be to God.