I love the end of the year. We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas, gathered, eaten good food, laughed, played, hugged, and eaten again. It has been a good year, a really good year. I relish the chance to remember the blessings.
I also love looking forward to the new year that’s almost here. What are the possibilities? What did I learn in this closing year that I can use in the next? I am more convinced every year that I don’t begin to understand how much God loves us. I may know it is true, but I so often fall into the thinking that I must perform well to stay in His favor. Do you ever think that way?
Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. He created you and me, each with our individual traits, just as He desired us. He made no mistakes. There is nothing about our makeup that makes Him look away, except sin. So He sent Jesus, His Son, to bear the penalty of our sin for us so that we can stand before Him spotless.
Does that mean we are perfect? No. We still sometimes choose to do things our way, to sin, rather than obey, but when we stop and repent, we have an Advocate who takes our side. He keeps the door open so that we can return to God’s grace, forgiveness, and cleansing. He takes up residence in our hearts as Holy Spirit to help us walk in holiness, recognize sin, and repent. He assures us of God’s faithful promise to forgive and empowers us to walk as sons and daughters of the Most High.
I hope in the next year to live better. I hope to live like someone whose greatest need has already been met. I hope to live like a child who is loved simply because I bring joy to my Father. I hope to live free of my own (and others’) expectations of what my spiritual life should be producing, and enjoy true moment by moment communion with the One who knows and loves me best.
I used to like plans and steps…like five steps to whatever the desired goal is. But I have found that life with Jesus does not work that way. It is a living, breathing, relationship where I must keep completely alert to His voice and His leading. As I draw near to Him, He draws near to me. I have no plan. I will simply put myself in the path where I may hear His voice by prayer and His word, then trust that His grace will enable me to walk in communion with Him day by day, moment by moment. Then He can do whatever He wants.
I like this verse from my reading today.
“The great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God, but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” Luke 10:20 the Message.
It’s going to be a great year! Will you join me?
Psalm 139:1-18; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:1; Ephesians 6:10; James 4:8