New Year’s is a great time for doing something we probably don’t do enough: taking stock of what’s just gone and planning well for what lies ahead.
How will you assess 2008? What will make 2009 a good year for you?
I think we tend to think of major events – births, deaths, marriages, holidays, things that have ended or begun. But perhaps the more significant changes happen at a deeper level all together and are harder to discern. How did you grow in loving God in 2008, or loving your neighbour for that matter? In what ways have you grown in Christlike character – in your willingness to serve rather than be served? And what plans are you making to grow further in these ways in 2009?
I hope that you will make the time over the next week or so to look back over 2008 and express your gratitude to God for the progress that he is making in your life and also to repent of the missed opportunities. And while you’re at it, why not make some concrete plans for 2009 so that in a year’s time you can spend more time giving thanks and less in repentance.
Pete not quite sure what you mean by less in repentance.
Yeah, sorry Tev. I can see how that could be confusing.
To begin with, what I really meant was less time confessing our sins to God, which is really only part of repentance. Repentance itself should be an ongoing attitude and practice throughout life.
I guess I was thinking along the lines of what Samuel says to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22 about how God desires obedience, not sacrifice. Repentance will always be necessary this side of Jesus’ return but by God’s grace he is at work in us by the power of his Spirit, transforming us to be less like our old self and more like his own self – more like Jesus.
So as we gradually put the old self and old sins to death in the power of the Spirit, we are able to spend less time having to repent of sin and more time thanking God and praising him for the good work that he’s doing in our lives.
Of course, it’s also true that the better we know God and the better we know oursleves, the Spirit is always bringing new sin to light so maybe spending less time in repentance is just a little bit ambitious!
If that still doesn’t make sense I’ll probably be able to make it clearer face-to-face.
Anyway, Happy New Year!
Thanks Pete , it all makes sense.