On a New Year

Happy New Year! Our daily reflections will start back in the coming days, but I wanted to wish you each a Happy New Year and share a few thoughts with you.

I woke up today with Philippians 2: 12-13 on my heart. Paul writes these words:

12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

I love this passage because of what it tells us. We “work.” But God is the one that does the heavy lifting. In other words, change doesn’t just happen. We have a part to play.

If we want the world to be kinder, we must do our part.

If we want the world to be more hopeful, we must do our part.

If we want the world to be more faithful, we must do our part.

If we want our faith to grow, to know your Bible, to serve, to be a better Christian, we must do our part.

If we want this world to simply be a better place, we must do our part.

It isn’t just enough for us to “want” 2021 to be a better year. We have to do something about it. I know it’s a trite old saying, but it is true. Change must begin with me. I have to be that change.

Let’s not assume the worst of our neighbors. Let’s not assume the worst of our political opponents. Let’s not assume the worst of those we disagree with. Assuming the worst is how we got in this mess. The only way we get out is to stop.

Last night we watched some old Doctor Who episodes, and one of them had a scene where the Doctor is upset by the war going on that writes upon the wall “no more.” No more war, killing, and violence. It ends.

2020 is no more. It is now 2021. But that doesn’t “fix” everything. We have to do our part. He resolves to bring about change in this episode. So must we. I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. What I am a huge fan of is daily faithfulness. Daily work. Daily grace. We must turn the page on the “stuff” of 2020. But we must also so no more and embrace the new page of 2021.  

And this is why I love that passage, what Paul says afterward: know that it is God who is at work with you. God is one doing the work. Our faithfulness, our efforts, our very lives are simply an extension of His grace.

Do your part this year. That’s the only way 2021 is different; we must be different. But know that it is God who is at work.

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