A year winds down and another starts immediately. What did we learn yesterday that helps us today and prepares, or even leads us, to tomorrow? ♦
We’re still in the bubble or even afterglow of the Christmas season. We have New Year’s celebrations to look forward to next week. Perhaps even more time off work, school, or an extended holiday. It’s that great time of year to reflect, relax, appreciate, enjoy the recent past, and anticipate the upcoming future. It’s played out in our calendars, mindsets and physical actions. Like having the time to sit by the fire and read a book for pleasure. For me it’s reading another Karen Kingsbury Christmas novel – this year it was Sarah’s Song from her Red Gloves Series. Never fails to wind me down.
But the hiatus is but for a season – a short holiday season that ends quickly and with little mercy as a looming new year soon hits us headlong.
What Did I Learn?
I once told Max, my older friend and mentor (see 11/09/13 post Mentor Max), that I wanted to “grow up to be a wise old guy” like him. He laughed and pointed out that wisdom is gradual in coming and, in his case, took a long time. There’s truth in the gaining of wisdom over time. Though it doesn’t necessarily have to take a lifetime – a youth raised on the truth of Scriptures develops godly wisdom and knowledge that equips one for all things in a lifetime.
– Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:9
– Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. – Proverbs 9:9
While the world tells us that “the rich get richer” these Biblical Proverbs tell us that the “wise get wiser.” The wise listen and add to their learning, the discerning are the ones that get the guidance and they become wiser still. The righteous – note the Scripture is equating wisdom with righteousness – will even add to their knowledge gain.
So, like Max, are you becoming truly wiser in your aging? Even righteous with wisdom? Look specifically at this past year. Consider the learning, the discerning, the guidance. There should be an adding or uplift to personal wisdom and righteousness.
What Am I Really Doing?
During this time of self-reflection, consider what you have done this past year and by habit or trend will continue or with clear and honest assessment will now stop and avoid. At a time when New Year’s Resolutions abound and discernment of personal actions, behaviors and resulting self-promises are often kept at the level of fun and trivial, the discipline of year-end self-analysis is actually quite serious. While the light and trivial promises may be jokingly abandoned by late January, spiritual maturity should drive one to commitments of deeper abiding in Christ through faith, prayer and the reading/studying of the Word.
Christ himself calls us to stay connected to Him, the Vine: “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. – John 15:4 (see 9/21/13 post The Sower and the Vine). If we, as Christians, are doing anything less or otherwise, then we must sternly ask ourselves the ultimate self-assessment question: “What am I really doing?” Nothing of apparent substance and worth in this world should stack rank higher than a deeper, more abiding walk with Jesus, the One we claim as Lord.
When Will I Begin?
What then? Are we to quit our jobs, become esoteric and spiritual heavyweights worth no earthly good or productivity? Of course not. We are to operate fully in our strengths, our wheelhouse, as it were, deeply connected to the source and Father of that special and unique wiring that is you and I. Yes, we were created for a God-honoring purpose reflected in our gifts, talents and proclivities (see 8/3/13 post A Singular Calling). Operating outside of that design is a result of disobedience, neglect, selfishness and/or lack of understanding of Biblical Scriptures.
But it’s never too late. And there is no condemnation for late-bloomers. I know because I am one. The surrendered life is a high-yielding life that convicts one to ask why one didn’t fully surrender earlier. It’s a human mystery that shouldn’t be. It’s as clear as day in the Word of God. Begin with that as you begin the New Year and relinquish control of a life that’s better off in the hands of a wise and loving God who knows you and has great plans for you.
For a truly Happy New Year walk in godly wisdom, righteousness and obedience.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. – Proverbs 9:10-12