Happy New Year everyone. Rob here.
I’m back in the office after a wonderful family break in the far north of our beautiful country. We experienced love, warmth, beauty, friendship and joy. It was refreshing and God was very present to us as we stepped out of our normal routines. What was interesting about the break was that as we slowed down and got into the rhythm of living moment-by-moment, day-by-day, our minds and hearts started to dream.
Now, these weren’t divine visions or clear-cut revelations. They were interesting ideas to explore, wonderings about what our children will do with their lives, notions about how we spend our time and money. They were invitations into conversations with God. They were a recognition that God has more for us and an invitation to begin the new year walking closely with him. This is what God wants all of us to know as 2017 gets under way. He has more for each one of us but we need to walk closely with him in order to step into that ‘more’.
There’s another invitation though and that is to get rid of the old. We bought me some new clothes at the sales, but to make room in my limited drawer and wardrobe space we had to get rid of the old, the worn -out, the not-fitting, the not-suiting clothes that I had hung onto. It’s the same in our hearts and minds. What is the old thinking that needs to go to make room for new, clearer thinking? What are the old practices that need to go in order to make room for new life-giving practices? Who are the people I need to spend less time with in order to make room for people who actually help me fulfil my divine mission in this world?
This is why dying and rising always go together. Whenever we let go of anything it is to help us rise up into something else God has for us. This isn’t about busyness or activity. It’s about purifying our lives so that more of our time and energy is directed to God’s kingdom and not our own agendas. So what is God inviting you into? What stands in the way of that invitation? What action do you need to take so that you can Yes to God? Is the invitation more prayer, scripture, exercise, sleep, dates, books, parties, nutrition, meditation, joy, fun, activism… Do you need to let go of some TV, internet, food choices, late nights, numbing activities, books, parties, ways of praying, ways of reading Scripture, unhelpful beliefs… Are you able to give the process of dying and rising over to Christ so that he can lead you into a richer, deeper life?
New Year resolutions fail because it’s all up to you. New Year invitations are more successful because God not only invites but empowers with his presence. He wants us to know life in all its fullness through Jesus Christ. It is a relational life motivated by divine love that moves us into a deeper humanity even as we die to sin and come alive to God. May 2017 be a blessed year for you as you follow Jesus Christ and love God and neighbor with the divine love that lives within you.
Grace and peace.