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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well it's finally 2011.  When I was a kid, I think I expected everything to be similar to The Jetson's once this time came around.  If you'd told me we'd still be driving our cars rather than flying them, I'd have called you a liar. 

As I start to get settled in to this new year, I--like others--have so many expectations and hopes.  I expect that I as a person will grow and be better this year than I was in 2010.  I hope that this year brings even greater blessings to my life and my families' lives.

Many people create New Year's resolutions because they want to be better in the new year than they were in the past.  What would make you better?  Losing 20 or 30 pounds?  Having more friends?  Having more money or more material items?

Physical health is one of the things I value most in my life.  I'm thankful for my health and my physical strength and ability.  I am also very thankful for the few but true friendships that I have been blessed with.  I'd definitely love to get more money in 2011 than I got in 2010.  And there's nothing wrong with material things.  I too like stuff.  

But what about Jesus?  Would you be willing to get to know Him in 2011?  If you already know Him, would you be willing to ask Him for more of Him in your life this year? 

What if I told you, that having a relationship with Jesus would make you better?  What if I told you that having a relationship with Jesus would give you more of what you're truly searching for?  Would you still rather have more friends, money, stuff or lose more weight this year than get to know Him?

Imagine that you have all the money, material items, and friends in the world and you are a "perfect size".  What would life be like for you?  Would you be content?  Or would you want more?  What if you had all this, but you didn't have Jesus?  How would life be for you?

I can speak from personal experience that I once had all the "friends" I thought I needed.  I had tons of money, and I had tons of material things.  I think I had pretty much everything an average person would want in life.  The one thing missing was Jesus.  I remember going shopping and buying and buying and buying until I thought I was satisfied.  When I got home with all my stuff, I'd always feel this enormous sense of emptiness. 

I remember going out with friends and eating and drinking to my heart's content.  The first bite and drink are always delicious.  But once it's gone, it's gone.  You can only eat so much food, and you can only drink so much drink.  No matter how full my stomach was, I still had an emptiness inside of me.

I remember thinking I had tons and tons of friends.  I remember losing most of them when I could have used them the most. 

I remember the day that I gave my  life to Jesus.  I remember that empty feeling being filled like never before.  I remember feeling a sense of peace wash over me like a cool, calm shower.  It is a  moment that I will never forget as long as I live. 

2 Corinthians 4:18 states, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

In the context of chapter 4, the verse is speaking about personal affliction.  It's a reminder not to look at those things (the different struggles) which afflict us, but remember to look at what's ahead if we continue to trust in Jesus.  For me, something about this verse, touches the subject that I speak of...

Think about it.  The Webster's Dictionary definition of affliction is to cause persistent pain or distress, great suffering.  The battle of losing weight and/or gaining weight can cause great suffering, friendships can, loss or gain of money can cause that, and so can other material items.  Why?  Because these are all temporal things.

But setting our sights on the things that are eternal: Jesus, Heaven, His love for us, etc. comes with no affliction.  It does, however, come with peace that surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7), agape love, unlimited joy, and freedom from sin. 

One of my promises for 2011 is to make more time for God.  My hope is that I am able to strengthen my prayer life this year; and in so doing, deepen my relationship with God. 

My prayer in this new year is that more people will let go of their fleshly desires (for more money, materials, and "cool friends"), and explore the hunger in their hearts for Jesus.  Not that there's anything wrong with that stuff.  I do hope, though, that they would choose to have more of Him above all the things of this world that fade, break, and get old.  Rest assured that Jesus never fades, gets old or breaks...He is the same yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8)

Wishing everyone abundant blessings, peace and agape love in 2011!


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