A new year almost always marks a time of reflection. For once, we can remember the things we just got through facing and dream all that we anticipate for the year ahead. It seems as if we can hardly help but make our plans and resolves, whether we face the year confidently or with a tremor in our step. It’s a new year and obviously we will do better this time than we have before (in whatever it might be).
Shortly thereafter reality steps in: 2016 is just like 2015. (Except that now we need to spend five more seconds fumbling over the date every time.) This new year is not particularly profound, at least not more than the last one. I still cook and clean the house and sit at my laptop hoping that words will come out right and hold significance.
It’s the same thing every day, and that’s fine; but when I start planning for the new year, I begin to want something more. Somewhere inside I find I want to prove to others, or simply to myself, that I’m moving forward, going places.
Somehow those good New Year plans and resolves can spiral into personal motivation to prove myself. And when our God-given yearnings become material for our own self-promotion, there is a distinct problem.
God has proved His love to us already. Our call is to walk in what has been done by Christ. We are not trailblazers or capable professionals, able to do life on our own or expected to make a name for ourselves. We are loved by God, and that is enough.
So here’s to 2016 being different: Instead of proving our own significance, “prove” to a broken world the significance of Christ. Instead of looking to outward accomplishments as the measure of success, look to God and His hidden work in the heart. I want 2016 to be a year of being hidden. Hidden in Christ. Hidden in the prayer closet. Hidden from the praise of others because the desire to prove myself only proves one thing very clearly: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”