It’s that time of year again. Through the fun times with family and friends, there has probably been a growing sense of something drawing to a close and something else starting anew inside each one of us. Whether they want to admit it or not, everyone is–at least to some degree–reflecting on the previous year and looking ahead to the new one.
But what does that really mean for you and I? Some people out there genuinely don’t care about this. Come what may, they’re simply focused on their next paycheck so that they can party some more. I’m sure you’d agree that if that’s all they want out of life, they’ve already reached their goal–with nowhere else to go from there (and if that’s where you might be, just know that “You can’t get there from here.”)
I think most of us, though, are keenly focused right now on where we’ve been and where we’re going. So what does that mean for you? I’m all for expressing my sense of humor, but there’s also a time for expressing some meaningful questions: Where have you been? And where are you going? I wish I was face-to-face with you right now–as we walk this northern trail together in our snowshoes!–because I would love to hear your answers to those questions. Maybe you don’t even have decent answers to either one of them right now. That’s OK–at times, I haven’t either (and for years, the answer to that second question constantly eluded me).
This is just my opinion, but I can assure you–based on many years of experience (remember, a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with a theory)–that there is a world of difference between a person trying to figure out the answers to those questions on his own and another person relying on the God of the Bible to reveal those answers to him. If you don’t believe that, don’t be offended that I do (because I’m not offended that you don’t). We simply respect where the other is coming from, right? Many of us believe different things. That’s our God-given right and ability: Choice. But it’s at that point that everything separates and branches off into all kinds of different directions. So how do you know which one is the right one? Is there more than one? These are things no one likes to address or bring up–mostly because they make people feel uncomfortable, and who likes to feel that way? But doesn’t everything begin there? If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we have to admit that there is a void inside of us that we are constantly trying to fill with something or someone (even if it’s filled with nothing but ourselves).
I’d like to avoid a deep and philosophical exchange today, but given this contemplative time of year, wouldn’t you agree that it’s almost unavoidable? Regardless, I trust that you can at least see this: Everything has to have a foundation. If yours is shaky, whatever you build on it will fall (Jesus told us that). He also told us that everything bears fruit……everything. If you take an honest look at the lives around you–including your own–those that show the healthiest and largest crops of fruit are going to be those that have a vibrant and intimate walk with Jesus Christ. (A couple of things to note: look deeper than the surface at the fruit you notice in others’ lives; it may not be as healthy as it looks. And secondly, note those key words: vibrant and intimate. It’s sad but true that many of us know plenty of people who claim to have Jesus in their hearts that live dull, lifeless and boring lives. Rest assured: That is not what truly having Jesus in your life is like! It is the most exciting–and dangerous–thing you could ever decide to do.)
As you look behind you to glean what you can from your previous year and look ahead to what potentially lies before you, are you going to choose to go at it alone? Because if that’s what you want, God will honor that (just know that it was never meant to be that hard). Maybe you’re even struggling with the feeling that life is ultimately meaningless and pointless. If all we’re living for is to try to better ourselves and those that live around us, what lasting value does that really bring? Don’t you know that you were meant for so much more than that? Wouldn’t you like to reach the end of your life and know that you fulfilled everything you were meant to fulfill with it? And then to hear the King of Kings and Lord of Lords tell you, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!” Talk about an eternal purpose! That certainly gives your life true meaning.
I am excited for you! What will your life look like in a year? What are you really living for? What changes will you make this year that could have mind-blowing, far-reaching effects that you can’t possibly imagine? Let me know what you think and let’s find out together!