So the web is filling up with resolutions, lists of what to do, what goals to set for 2017; and doubtless sermons will be preached tomorrow exhorting people with all sorts of challenges for 2017 – maybe I’m just getting old, seen too many resolutions fail, seen people dispirited at the prospect of another year ending with disappointed hopes and unrealised dreams – so I’m not going to go that route!
Life can be wearying. New years with all their talk of fresh starts can be wearying – the same desires for improvement, the same desires to see the church grow, to see lost loved ones come to Christ – and another year comes and goes with no discernable change.
Weariness can set in at individual and congregational level. And we crank back on the enthusiasm level, afraid to keep living with high expectations amidst low outcomes.
So here’s my prescription for the New Year:
“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:3)
Consider all he has done for you. Consider all he is too you. Take what you already know, turn it over in your mind. Turn it upwards in praise. Ask for help to consider him more.
Read a good book on Jesus Christ—my recommendation “Rejoicing in Christ” by Michael Reeves (also released as “Christ our Life” [UK]) You’ll have to ignore the somewhat bizarre artwork from the middle ages scattered throughout the book, but it is a book which just bubbles and fizzes with delight in Christ. A second recommendation is “Knowing Christ” by Mark Jones – not as easy a read, but plenty of great material.
Consider what he endured…
The word means to measure it up against your struggles… how do they compare? Not to make us feel guilty, but to remind us that he has trodden this path before us as the pioneer of our faith, and the one who will perfect that faith in us. He has walked this path in much more severe circumstances, and now walks with his people, perfecting faith in us in our circumstances. He will enable you to hang in there. He has been this way before.
Consider all he endured…
For you, for his church—he isn’t going to take his eye off the ball. He will finish what he started in you. Keep going, because he will. The changes you long for may or may not come in 2017, but Jesus will refresh and enable us every step of the way. So, fixing our eyes on Jesus, let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Consider him… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.