Another Holiday season has come and gone. Thanksgiving, Advent, and now Christmas are in the rear window (hopefully we’re holding onto the truths we learned about God along the way). If you are like me, you have probably worked harder, exercised less, and eaten more than you should have. If you live in America, you have also probably spent more than you could afford.
As we look to the new year, most people begin to look at New Year’s Resolutions. There is often reflection regarding people’s weight, or financial security. Looking at the news, it is also expected to be a time when people are looking for new employment opportunities
“I gained ‘x’ amount of weight and need to lose it,” or “my credit card debt is too high, I need to be more fiscally responsible.” But what about your spiritual health?
What about your spiritual health?
I know that for some, Christmas Eve can be a time of recommitment to Christ. The offer is made on Christmas Eve, and hands get raised. But now it is almost a week later, and it is easy to begin to move on to what we might perceive to be “more important things.”
The question is, “Is there really anything more important than our walk with Jesus?” There should be only one answer to this question, “NO!” With this being the case, have you begun to look at what you might do differently to grow closer to Jesus in 2022? Sometimes we look forward without reflecting back. But it is said, “those who fail to look at history are forced to repeat it.”
Sometimes we look forward without reflecting back…
If we want 2022 to be different than 2021 (which for most was probably a solid 1-2 weeks of success before everything fell apart), we want to see what worked, and what didn’t.
When we look at 2 Corinthians 13, Paul calls on them to examine themselves.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV
We are called to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith… to test ourselves. When we look at ourselves compared to where we were last year, do we think that we are closer in our relationship with Jesus or further away? When we look at ourselves in the mirror, do we see more of Jesus or less?
No matter where we are in our journey with Jesus, there is always further to go.
No matter where we are in our journey with Jesus, there is always further to go. Paul, who was very close to the Lord, was very clear in Philippians 3 that he still had a ways to go. If Paul wasn’t there, with all he went through and all he did for Jesus, then we should know that we aren’t there either.
As we prepare for the new year, let’s start by reflecting back on last year.
Can you think of 3 things that worked well as you sought to become closer to Jesus, and to look more like Him? How can you do more of this?
Can you think of 3 things that got in the way of your relationship with Jesus, or things that made you less like Jesus? What can you do to avoid these things?
At the Elm Street Community Church, we are going to be focusing on discipleship in 2022. This means looking to become more like Jesus. We aren’t going to avoid evangelism (sharing Jesus with others), but we want our focus to be on our relationship with Jesus. We have different things in place to make this happen (such as men’s and women’s groups, we will be looking to add teen and children’s groups, and developing programs to help everyone stay on track).
We will also be focused on going through the New Testament in 2022 (with additional readings for those who want to go through the whole Bible in 2022).
As we have looked at the love, joy, and peace that comes from a relationship with Jesus, we want to help you develop that further in 2022. Our focus will be “More of You (Jesus) in 2022.” If you are interested in joining us for this journey, please let us know. We are looking forward to a wonderful 2022.
(Sunday’s sermon and next week’s devotional will be on the three-legged walk of faith).