Once again we are approaching the final moments of another year. As we look back to the past one year, we have so much to praise God for. When we consider the turmoil and uncertainty prevailing around the world, it is God’s abundant grace that we could reach thus far. Praise be to His great name. Just as we look back with a grateful heart and thank Him, it is also high time to evaluate our spiritual life as a whole. In fact it can be done at any moment in life, but the present season is definitely an appropriate opportunity for introspection, evaluation and a restructuring of the remaining life.
Not attained but striving
In Philippians 3:12 – 14 we find such an exercise of Apostle Paul. Looking back to the past around 25 years of Christian life, Paul says he cannot claim to have attained for which he had been called. He writes it repeatedly in this passage. He does not find perfection in his life or activities. He is aware of the goal to which the Lord has called him, and he is still striving to reach that end.
In Philippians 4:11b, Paul himself, writes, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content”. In connection with the physical matters Paul is ready to be content. He is satisfied in whatever state he is. But as far as spiritual life and service is concerned he is not satisfied, not comfortable. He wants to attain further, he does not claim to have reached anywhere!
Content but not complacent
Such should be our attitude. We must be content with the material life but when spiritual things are concerned, we should not consider to have reached the highest level. If Paul the great Apostle viewed his life in such a manner, what else can we say about our life? Let us look back to our performance last year in this point of view.
We must not forget that most often we tend to see only our success and achievements but fail to notice the flaws. That’s why once Paul said, “I do not even judge myself” 1Cor 4:3b. The wise man made this observation; “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes….” “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Pro. 16: 2, 25. We see only ‘right’ in our personal life. So do not just assume that we have achieved or reached a better place than any other. At the same time we should not be tempted to look down ourselves ending up in self-pity and inferiority complex. 1John 3:20
Evaluate by God’s help
God alone knows our exact state. That’s why we need to seek the Lord to help us see our real condition. As the Psalmist did we need to pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23, 24 cf. Jer 17: 9, 10.
Let us not be blinded by the achievements we have had any. Someone has well observed; “there is nothing so dangerous as success”. Self-satisfaction and confidence might lead to pride and arrogance. Whatever good things taken place in our life is only by God’s grace and continue consider ourselves as unprofitable servants. Cf. Luke 17:10.
Clear and fresh vision
We must realize that the ‘high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ is a lifelong pursuit and not easily attained. When we think of God’s plan for our life, there is much more to be done and even much more to be known. We may not be familiar with all the purposes of God at a time. Only as we keep on learning and meditating God’s precious word we come to understand that He reveals His truth step by step. Cf. Pro 4:18. If for any reason we become complacent and stop the careful study of His word we begin to misapprehend God’s plan and become casual and content in the present state.
That’s why we need a clear and fresh vision of the Lord’s specific plan for our individual life. This realization comes to us only through a very close communion with the Lord through prayer and the study of the scripture. Thus being updated regularly of the divine programme and the standard He kept for us we are able to evaluate and refocus our life in a better manner.
In the light of the above reality let us look back to the past days and see how far we could fulfil God’s plan in our life. Yes, with Paul let us admit, ‘not yet apprehended’. Let us seek His grace and press toward that goal.
Helpless and weak
Just as success should not make us blind and proud, failure should also not make us disturbed and depressed. No doubt our Lord is so gracious and merciful. The moment we confess our failures and inadequacies, not only He forgives us, but also gives enough strength and grace to go forward. Cf. 1John 1:9; James 4: 6.
We are helpless and insufficient in our own strength and wisdom. But we can do all things through Christ Jesus our Lord, who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13. Let us ponder over the words of the Lord Almighty who told Joshua when he was old, “there remains very much land yet to be possessed”. Joshua 13:1
May the Lord help each one of us to learn lessons from the past, trusting in the Lord re-focus and re-schedule our life in such way that we attain more and more as the days go by.
To all our readers we wish a very blessed, Christ-centred Happy New Year 2016