We over-indulged at Christmas. Financially. Gastronomically. Socially. Maybe with family. Then perhaps we spent a week or so with end-of-the-year recovery and reflection. And then rounded out the year with even more over-indulging, at least food and football as we rang in the New Year.
Everywhere we turn there are lists of reflections -- the best and worst of 2022: best movies, best streaming, best books, best new tech, best new app, biggest news stories and lists of the people that we lost.
Now, we’re talking about resolutions: physical and financial diets; plans and goals for the new year, more exercise, less eating, more drinking, less drinking, working harder, working less, reading more, and less screen time.
I suppose we reflect so we can improve.
The New Year is like a fresh start. It’s a way of marking an end and a beginning.
But do we reflect on our lives as Christians? How did we do as a disciple of Christ last year?
There are two parts to living as a Christian, as I see it: believing and acting.
We spend a lot of time talking about believing. It’s important. Salvation comes to the believers.
But there is more.
We must act.
Belief – faith – is enough to save us. But if we want to follow Jesus, live the life that he told us and modeled for us, we must act. We will not feel nor be complete as a Christian if we don’t. Our primary act? Repentance. Then? Love.
Christ gives us a fresh start, just like a New Year. We just have to believe. Then what do we do? We act. We love God and love our neighbor.
While we are reflecting on the past year and making plans, why not think about our Christian life? How can we improve it? Why can’t we set goals for it too? We can.
o I’m going to be intentional about devotional time. Spending time in communion with God. Reading the Bible. Praying.
o I’m going to give to help others.
o I’m going to show a little grace.
o I’m going to try to love someone that doesn’t deserve it.
o I’m going to forgive that person who doesn’t deserve it.
o I’m going to try to love everyone.
With prayer and intentionality, through the grace that is Christ Jesus, we can succeed at these goals and be forgiven when we fail.
May you find peace this year.
The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are filled with Jesus telling people to act. Virtually every interaction Jesus has with others involves some direction. And the Old Testament is likewise filled with God’s commandments, direction, and guidance to his people.