As I’m sitting down to write this reflection it is the first of December. I find myself thinking back about this past year and all the circumstances of life, good and bad, that have occurred, and all the hopes and dreams that either materialized or will be continuing on into next year.
So, I guess it’s time to dust off the list of New Year’s resolutions and try again. Let’s see, on January 1st I’m going to lose weight, get back to the gym, worry less, get more involved in everything, read more, put air in my bike’s tires and just be an all-around better person.
By the time you are reading this reflection I will have failed, fallen short or ignored most all my resolutions on how I am going to make me a better person.
I do the same thing with my spiritual life and my relationship with God. Next year I’m going to read my Bible more, get more involved at church, pray more, give more, do more and be more. I am going to do all the things it takes for me to make myself a better Christian.
Once again, I’ve fallen short. I’m starting to think that in my personal life the only resolution I should make is to not make any more New Year’s resolutions. In my spiritual life I have begun to realize and understand how easy it is to think that we can do more and be more so that God will love us more. I don’t know why it is so difficult to realize and accept the fact that God loves us totally and completely just as we are. So instead of trying to do more so He will love us more, we need to just accept and return His love and we will do more and be more because of that love, not because of an obligation or requirement.
Timothy Keller in his commentary on Galatians says that so often as Christians we have the Gospel come into our lives, we then do works so that our faith will grow. We need to let the Gospel come into our lives and let God’s love for us and our love for Him grow our faith, and our works will be an outgrowth of that love.
So, for me my New Year’s spiritual resolution is to accept the fact that God loves me right now even without all the improvements that I might or might not make. As my faith grows and I understand the immensity of His love for me, I will want to do nothing more than love Him back, and the things I do will only be because I love Him because of His love for me.
Father Dale talks so often about going deeper. Many times, he is referring to our Bible studies, some theological issue or challenging our thinking on some social or psychological situation, thus expanding our ideas. My prayer for PWC this year is that we go deeper into God’s love by letting His love go deeper into us, thus expanding our faith.
Paul says in Galatians 2:20: (NIV) “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”