by Erica Pearson, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s that time of year again. When we hold up the past year with a reflective mirror and look back on all the decisions we have made, contemplating the ones we could have made better. We look into the New Year with expectant binoculars and strain to see what the future could possibly hold for us. We grieve failed resolutions and we celebrate successful resolutions.
This New Year, I am contemplating the journey of the Christian life. As a young child I accepted innocently the foundation my parents laid for me. Being a Christian was exciting and new! It was unhindered and uncomplicated by doctrine and religion. It was…in a word…SIMPLE. As a teenager, the Christian life was a passionate struggle. I believe Romans 7: 14-25 was written specifically with a 16-year-old in mind. That passage is underlined, highlighted and circled in my student Bible. While striving to live out my beliefs in an unaccepting world, I turned to mentors to teach and guide me. I will call the college years, the “debatable” years. Thrown into a world with multiple belief systems, I learned how to defend my faith.
Now, in my 30s, I will dare to be honest with you. I’m afraid I find this to be the complacent years and that truth terrifies me! This has proven to be a confusing year, as I observe those who shaped my life. You know that disappointment. When a television evangelist you have admired falls flat on their face, or perhaps more painful, when someone you know personally makes a fatal choice that sends a domino effect that flattens everyone around them. The startling truth becomes reality. We are human. We are fragile. We make mistakes. These truths have startled me and awakened me out of my complacency and left me to ask some very hard questions:
> How do I finish this journey strong!?
> How do I not disappoint the young person who is watching me right now live out my faith?
> How do I continue to grow so that my children have someone to look up to?
> How do I keep from being the one that falls flat on MY face?
Then a beautiful reality emerges from the truth of scripture:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the journey that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
While I ponder these things on earth, there are those surrounding me who have already walked this path and asked the same questions. They are cheering me on to the finish line. As I run this journey I should FIX my eyes not on my mentors, but on JESUS. He is the Author and perfecter of my faith.
When those around you disappoint you, remember that they are simply on their journey too and God is working out the fine details as He writes their story just as He is writing yours. He will use those disappointments to strengthen you as you learn to rely on Him.
As I look to the New Year and pray that I will not grow weary and lose heart, I find myself leaning on 2 Peter 1, longing to unpack it and let each truth settle deep in my heart. I believe God has given me this scripture as a “Recipe for Growth”. In verse 4 it says the world will not ruin you because of these truths. I pray that you will also find it worthy of unpacking in your life and that you will stay strong in 2015!
“Recipe for Growth”
To your faith ADD goodness To your goodness ADD knowledge To your knowledge ADD self-control To your self-control ADD patience To your patience ADD service for God To your kindness ADD LOVE To your service for God ADD kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ To fight complacency and grow Do your best to add these things to your life IF all these things are in you and are growing they will help you to be USEFUL and PRODUCTIVE 2 Peter 1, New Century Version