Close Encounters

Now that we have passed Christmas, our thoughts turn toward the new year.  As always, I make a list of things that I want to accomplish in the next year.  “2019 will be different,” I say.  This is the year, that everything will come together.  This year, I will fulfill my life’s calling. But, it doesn’t really work that way.  At least, it hasn’t happened yet in my 48 years.  You see, if I am going to achieve bigger things, if my efforts are going to yield different results than last year, I will have to make some adjustments.  I am learning that my life is built exactly the way that I have built it.  Which creates in me all kinds of questions.  Primary among them is “Lord, how would you have built my life?”

Of course, that is the most dangerous of all questions because it convicts me. I have not yet become who God created me to be.  How do I know?  Because I have not yet learned to be reliant.  In fact, nearly everything I attempted in 2018 was designed to become independent, powerful and full.  This is not the Jesus way.  Jesus chose to remain hungry when presented with food in the desert, while I looked for more food and complained when I didn’t get it.  Jesus chose to remain poor rather than accept all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  But, I turned to bitterness and resentment when my kingdom didn’t grow. 

There is hope.  In fact, we get to celebrate a new year in just a few days.  New years are a wonder ful thing.  They are a new beginning, a new creation.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away and the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).  This is it.  Right now, today, is our opportunity to be that new creation.  It is given us, all we have to do is acknowledge it.

As I write the words on this page, the voices in my head get louder.  They ask, “how in the world will you ever do that?” “How can you possibility be that strong?”  “After all these years, do you really think that you can just shut it down and be who you were created to be?”  The honest answer to all of those questions is “No.  I cannot.”  It is this realization, this understanding that gets me closest to who I was created to be.  At the end of my rope, with no hope left and no resources to call upon, I get to encounter Christ.  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).  So, if you want to know what my real goal is for 2019, I will tell you.  I will intentionally seek a true encounter with him.  Everyday.