Monday, January 2, 2012

The Reflection of the Year Gone By

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.  James 1:22-25

As we transition into the new year the same thoughts begin to flow through our minds about change.  No matter how we deny it, we tend to sense that for some reason the change in the calendar is supposed to create a change in us.  There really are not necessarily any new opportunities that have arisen or resources that have been provided; we’re just supposed to change.  But, change from what?  From what we were last year?

Mirrors are not the friend of most of us.  They are so…so…honest.  If they could only invent a mirror that could be adjusted to our desired reflection it would certainly be easier on our self-esteem.  Think about it, we just tune the mirror that when we stand in a certain place it magically reduces and enlarges to our desired adjustments.  Maybe that is exactly what the writer meant in James 1 when he spoke of the man who can look at the mirror and only see what he wants to see.

Isn’t that just like us and our religion?  We look into the perfect Word of God and immediately begin our interpretation to accommodate our weakness.  But God is not fooled and neither is the world around us.  Both are quite aware of the reality of our lives.

Take a moment and reflect on the year gone by.  How could it have been different if you had been different?  Does anything just keep jumping out of the mirror that needs attention?  Is there an area that has become an area of defeat?  While there are many things that we don’t have power to change, our response to events and circumstances in life is one we do. 

The past year provides the clearest mirror of present values and priorities in our lives.  The courage to look into the mirror with God and allow Him to let His Spirit speak honestly to our hearts is the beginning of core change.  Even if after looking at the mirror we decide not to act immediately at least we have an honest evaluation of what is hindering our fellowship with Him and service to others.  That knowledge may soon bring conviction which leads to repentance.

So, don’t think that the change in the year is going to magically create a change in your life or the lives of those around you.  Don’t deceive yourself by thinking that 2012 has any more opportunity than 2011.  Don’t await some new resource because the calendar has changed.  But, by all means, don’t look back and ignore what you see that God can change and bring abundance and increased blessing to your life.

Scripture to Claim
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.  Colossians 4:5-6  

Devotional Archive