Did 2016 come in as a bang at your house? Or maybe it quietly crept in while your household was snuggled soundly asleep. How ever it came, it’s here now and it’s already rushing us into the second week of the month! It seems like we were just caroling “Oh, Holy Night” and now we’re putting up new wall calendars and packing away last year’s ornaments. The speed of this new year’s arrival is already leaving me breathless.
But even though I’m dragging behind a bit (on all fronts), I love the start of a new year because it always holds the promise of new opportunities. I like scanning through last year’s journal before closing it and storing it on the shelf with others that represent decades of history—each filled with evidences of God’s faithfulness. I love opening up a fresh page, the first page of the new year of a brand new journal.
The year began with this journal entry:
[box]So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16–18)[/box]
This passage is the foundation for my spiritual focus for 2016. The word that has been laid on my heart is: surrender. This is to be the year of the yielded heart, surrendering all to Him. Living the “Not my will, but Yours” life—moment by moment.
I like to think that I’ve already done that. I yielded myself as a child to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I yield to Him daily, asking for His will to be accomplished in my life. I sing “I Surrender All” and lift my hands signifying—all I have is yours.
But I’m being challenged anew with this thought—Has my will completely yielded all I most hold dear?
Can I say with the Apostle Paul that: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”?
Am I truly surrendered at the outset of this year to every painful lesson He will teach me, all the sorrows that will be inscribed on these fresh journal pages, and each tear that will fall—is my heart in the position of surrendering it all to Him? Now, before I know what He is asking me to give up? To yield?
Do I have a settled understanding that all I hold dear here is only transient . . . just like the closing of the cover on last year’s journal?
Read again the first sentence of my Scripture passage for this year: “So we do not lose heart.” This is the key to not losing heart—surrendering my heart to His plans. Knowing that whatever affliction this year may hold, it is temporary. The affliction is temporary, but the eternal weight of glory that is formed through that affliction is eternal. Eternal.
And is eternal glory not worth more than all the temporary affliction?
In knowing His character, there is joy in the surrender. His character is good and merciful. His mode of operation is redemption!
Further down on the journal page of January 1, I inscribed this statement that God gave me back in October: If I truly desire God’s glory, I will embrace every affliction God appoints for me.
He brings afflictions and He brings abundant goodness. In all of it, He is working out a beautiful plan—an “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
[box]Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! (Ps. 31:19)[/box]
How did you enter 2016?
What are you asking God to do in your life this year?
How are you asking Him to use you to impact others?
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