January 2, 2020
At the end of each year my wife Alexa and I pull out our calendars and reflectively go through each month of the year. We think about the highs and the lows, the ways God answered prayers and the moments it felt like He wasn’t there. At the end of our rumination, we look forward and think of ways to grow. I know for some, New Year’s brings wishful anticipation and positive potentials. For others, this January 1st was just another Wednesday.
I think our Scriptures invite us into wise perspective on the date change. While we certainly had no part in getting the earth around its full orbit of the sun, ordering our lives around a calendar has been the common practice of God’s people since the beginning. If any group of people would believe that a change in season and time could signal a time for growth, it would be followers of Jesus. We know that Jesus has made us new people and will make us new creations in His image in the future.
I think this now/not yet idea of “new creation” is where our wise approach to new years should begin. We first recognize the truth of who we are in Christ. We are beloved and forgiven. Jesus invites us into rest and to take His easy yoke. For those worn out and burdened, maybe this year’s quest is to delight and rest in Jesus before doing anything else. Our path to growth must always start with rest in Jesus. For those eager to reach a resolution, we recognize the new year does not bring a magical power of change. We are still the same people from the 31st to 1st. Yet, if we use the fresh year to invite the refreshing power of the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, things can change.
So, if you are formulating a resolution (or several!) this year, I encourage you to first bring it before Jesus. Invite the Spirit in and allow grace and rest along the way. If you know someone committed to change, encourage them. Do not burden them with cynicism but cheer them on and pray for the Spirit’s moving in their life.
I encourage you to use this new year to reflect and rest as Jesus has so graciously invited us to do – and then actively participate in continued transformation to become more like Him.
Associate Shepherd of Five/Six Ministry