New Year is always a time for reflection. For many, it will be making new resolutions like losing weight or cutting down on alcohol, and for most of the many, it won’t be long before the resolution is broken. We’re very weak-willed. It is good though to consider our lives but why wait for a new year?
I don’t make resolutions but I often reflect on my life and how it’s going. I find it an essential part of being a Christian because the Bible spells out the kind of life I should lead, in fact, the kind of life we should all lead. It’s the route to peace, joy and satisfaction even when life is hard. If you find these things in your family or career that’s good, so did I, but take it from me as one who knows, the life the Bible says we should lead is much more fulfilling. It doesn’t take away any current joy, it enhances it so you’ll get even more joy out of your family, career, or whatever.
A little read book in the Bible has this important counsel to give us. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (1) This short passage tells us how we should treat our fellow man and how we should treat God. We should treat each other fairly, respectfully and mercifully. Mercy is difficult because God expects us to treat people in a way they don’t deserve. Look back on some of the horror stories in the news from the past month alone. Children lost their lives to cruel parents who are now in prison. It’s right that they are, that’s just as long as the punishment fits the crime. But God wants us to remove hatred from our hearts and show mercy. That’s not so easy. We should also recognise God for who he is and walk humbly with him, not as his equal but as someone who recognises how great he is and how small we are. That’s not easy either because one thing we’re good at is boasting about ourselves.
This standard of living is beyond us if we rely upon our efforts to do it. We’re going to fail constantly. We will be unjust, we won’t show mercy and we won’t walk humbly with God. The history of the human race is one where we tell God we don’t need him, we’re fine on our own. We’re not.
One of the Psalms says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (2) When this is true in our lives, this is when we find real fulfilment, and it’s also when we can satisfy the requirements of the previous Bible passage to show justice and mercy and to walk humbly with God. We’ll never be truly fulfilled until God is the centre of our lives and our focus. That’s where my reflection lies. At times I need to ask myself, is it true? Is God my focus or have I drifted away from him? For me, if I’m dissatisfied in some way with my life, there’s a good chance I’ve lost my focus. Satisfaction comes when I turn back to God.
I appreciate that what I’m writing about sounds alien to some of you. We’ve been raised in a world that has little time for God and so we give him little time ourselves, but we do so at great personal cost. We rob ourselves of the life God intended for us and we settle for a poor substitute, but thankfully God isn’t prepared to let us do that. You are important to him, and so loved by him that he has given his Son to die for you. You see, sin has stopped you from enjoying God, it’s created a barrier between you, but God, through Jesus, removes the barrier by taking your sins away from you and giving them to Jesus who suffers their punishment when he died. The Bible says, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” (3) If we can accept the truth of God’s word, the Bible, and acknowledge that Jesus died for us, the barrier is removed, our sins are not held against us and we are reconciled to God. Once reconciled we can have the life God intended for us to live, a life filled with so much good and so much more satisfying than what we might have now. Perhaps a little reflection on your life right now would be good and it may bring eternal consequences.
- Micah 6:8
- Psalm 73:25
- 2 Corinthians 5:19