One thing we all know that happens at the end of the year. People reflect. They think over the past year, the good times and the bad times. Often this can be very good in weaning out the bad things and learning from the mistakes.
But here is the problem: too often, people will focus on the failures, where they didn't meet their goals or ended up doing something else, and they'll likely make a New Year's resolution that will likely mean nothing in about a week's time.
This is not the kind of reflection God desires for His children. He desires something... different, and I've talked about this before but first I want address WHY He desires something different.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
Galatians 6:15 says, "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation."
Through Christ, we are new creations, a new body, a new Spirit. Though we stumble and we fall, we are still holy and blameless in His sight.
And it is what He makes of us that counts, not what other people make of us nor what we make of ourselves. It is this truth, the redemption that Christ brought that led Paul to proclaim in Romans 8:
Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Is this beginning to sound different to how some people end up treating how they've lived the past year? There is no more shame, nor guilt nor condemnation but joy in Christ.
So what does God tell us to do instead?
I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again.
Psalm 105:5 NIV says, "Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced"
God doesn't want us to reflect on our failures, but on His power in our lives. How He has worked, the 'coincidences' in our lives which I'm willing to agree to the definition being 'miracles where God chooses to remain anonymous'.
An old year has passed, a new has already come for some. Take a few moments to reflect on what God has done this past year.
Done reflecting? Okay, let's move on.
Let's come back to this idea of New Year resolutions because I think this is a great opportunity to take a step closer to God, to make a commitment. Though we don't need to spend our reflection time trying to figure out where we stuffed up, but instead, we can simply ask Him,
"Lord, show me how I can draw closer to You this coming year"
and commit to His answer.
But don't expect His response to be easy. Not only do we need to know what He wants us to do next but how to do it. We need that guidance or else we will end up trying to fulfill this task in our strength, not His.
This is why it is essential to ask Him. I've read before that often people do not receive from God simply because they haven't asked. So ask Him.
Philippians 1:6 NIV says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Let God fulfill that good work in you this coming year. Take on something that requires you to trust in Him, though it may seem impossible to change at first glance and remember to ask Him for guidance as you continue to learn to trust in His own strength.
Trust Him to guide you through this and make it a year of remembering what He has done to form you more into His likeness.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13 NIV)