Happy New Year! It has arrived. Do you feel any different today? Other than feeling a bit tired from staying up so late, probably not. But here it is, a brand new year and this is the first page of your story in this year. But the thing is, it's not a new book, only a new chapter. This year will only build on what has already been written.
That's the thing, we always seem to be looking for the "new" in our lives. I want to put before you the thought that we should not seek the "new" but instead the strengthening of the current. This is of course assuming that you are already living through Jesus. Too often we want to move on to something new before we have finished where we are and often where we are leads us naturally into a greater form of where we are. There is something to be said about consistency in our relationship with Jesus.
Be honest, the times when we have grown weak is when we have set aside the constant. We fail to understand that Jesus has given us everything we need; we only need to mature in it. It's like a child riding a bicycle. He learns all the basic skills on that very first day but he will increase, mature, perfect those skills. We shouldn't be looking for new experiences in Jesus but a deepening of the present ones.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
This is an awesome desire for 2013: To continue to live in Jesus. I think most of us long to get back to the first days we came alive in Jesus, to have that passion for the Name once more, but now with a greater maturity of understanding. Our problem is that the years take a toll on us. We forget the principles, the practices, the practical living in Jesus and we allow the stresses and strains of life to bring caution to our living. But living in Jesus has nothing to do with caution.
Don't look to new experiences but instead look to the rooting and being built up in Jesus. Take what you have been given and make more out of it. Go deeper, higher and wider; enrich your experience with Jesus; see vibrant colours added to your already fantastic testimony. Instead of new, expect increase. Seek increase. Live each day with expectation. Looking for the deepening in each moment.
It's not new faith that you need but a strengthening of the faith you have already been given. Stop trying to live your life with Jesus through other people. I love biographies but Jesus and I are busy writing my own and I want it to be brilliant with his glory. This means I must live. I must take risks in faith, if we can even call it risk. It means I need to take Jesus at his word and explore this thing called faith, throw myself with great abandon into his loving embrace. Not just talk about it but live it. Live that love that never fails. Love without thought of self. Allowing God to pour out his blessings to others through me. Making this a year of faith strengthening.
Let's not let go of the old chapters in the hope of starting a new story. God has allowed us to have the testimony of our past for a reason. Don't shut the door on the things God has done but instead be thankful for everything; for desert times and moments of plenty. See the story as God is telling it and be thankful for all things and you will discover a greater richness of praise exuding from every fibre of your being. Make every day a day of thanksgiving and you will soon discover that the complaints of your lips are replaced with the praises to our King.
Realize that God has already given you everything you need, now you have to live it for his glory. Don't set aside what you have been given for the desire for something new, instead look for a deepening of what already exists. Write a new chapter but in context of the previous ones. And above all else, continue to live in Jesus. Continue friends and do it will all your passion. Make sure you are doing more than living for Jesus; live through Jesus and this year will be like no other.