The end of one year and the approaching of a new year is and should be a time of reflection. We are told in 2 Cor. 13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you fail to meet the test.”
Where are you now in your walk with Jesus that is ahead of where you were one year ago at this time? As for me, I have many regrets…some more significant than others. There are temptations I gave in to with no excuse. There are people – even those I claim to love (!) – to whom I’ve been so mean. There have been times when I acted so hateful and bitter toward brothers and sisters in Christ. I have at times been cold, calloused and uncaring toward many poor people and have even developed an arsenal of rationalizations. Some of the points in my rationalizing may have been valid truths but the callousness on my heart concerns me. I’ve said and written things of which I’m ashamed.
At the same time, I can look back and I can see areas in which I’ve grown in my love for Jesus, the mission Jesus gave to the church to make disciples, more time in prayer and the word, continued yet growing love for preaching and teaching, spending time with others, repentance, transparency and the willingness to tell others what they need to hear rather than what they may want to hear.
All of that may sound like contradictions the regrets and areas where I’ve grown are set side by side. But, that is the reality. There are areas of growth but areas of conviction. As the new year approaches, I would encourage you to join me in evaluating this past year and making some goals for 2018.
One goal may be to read through the Bible in a year. I will have some guides available this weekend (Sunday Dec. 31st). So if you are going to make a commitment to read through the Bible in 2018, see me and I will hook you up with a good, doable guide for your daily reading. It also has some flex days built into it if you need a few days each month to get caught up.