Psalm 20:4—May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.
Whenever a new year approaches there is for many people a sense of optimism. Yes, now I can start afresh. Yes, perhaps this next year will be a better year. Yes, finally the hardships or struggles of this past season may come to an end. But beginning afresh requires finishing the old year well. Very rarely, if ever, can you have one without the other.
So how do we finish well? If God is to provide you what your heart wishes and accomplish your entire intention may I suggest the following?
1. Absolve. Don’t leave unfinished business. If you have a grudge against someone or, if you are burdened with bitterness of any sort, forgive and reconcile. If you have wronged someone confess and make it right. Andy Rooney shared, “I’ve learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.” Jerry Bridges wrote in The Pursuit of Holiness, “Bitterness arises in our hearts when we do not trust in the sovereign rule of God in our lives.” You cannot start fresh with old festering wounds.
2. Appreciate. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life.” However, there is much more to thankfulness than just being awake. Gratitude is healthy medicine. While there may have been bumps and blows, disappointments and defeats in this last year, the truth is you are alive. God deeply cares about you. Life is a gift and worship is recognition before Him that He is preeminent and all else is secondary. There is plenty to thank the Lord, your parents, spouse, children, coworkers and friends for and, the very act of this, propels you into a new year with joy.
3. Reflect. New Year’s resolutions often fail because we did not conduct proper inventory. Central to effective reflection is ensuring that we understand and are faithful to our calling. With respect to calling, here are three key questions to meditate upon. What behavior, actions or attitudes did I permit that must cease or be modified? What did I accomplish this past year that should be sustained? What key lessons did I learn in the past 12 months that I can build upon? Write down your answers and in prayer ask God for wisdom to improve your living in the coming year.
May the Lord bless you with absolution. May your thoughts be seasoned with appreciation as you look back and then forward. May your reflection give strength to your resolve and may your discernment lead to uncommon riches for the glory of Yahweh who counts the number of the stars and names each one; who is great and all-powerful; and whose understanding is infinite (Psa. 147:4,5). Something to think about . . . in reveration!
Calling is central to the challenge and privilege of finishing well in life.--Os Guinness in The Call
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)