Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
What is the spiritual significance of New Year’s Resolutions? At the close of 2012, I stumbled upon a new and novel concept: no New Year’s Resolutions, no stress that first week in January, no broken promises to myself.
Instead, I would focus on one word for 2013. As I contemplated this, I asked: What is missing from my life? What spiritual discipline should I seek? For what is my heart yearning?
After much thought and prayer I determined I would spend 2013 seeking peace.
I read up on the subject. Exhausted Biblical references on the subject. Prayed a lot.
As I reflect on last year and my quest for peace I realize something surprising. The events of my life this year were not any more peaceful than other years. My schedule was still a bit chaotic. The year was full of surprises, both good and bad and loaded with plenty of stress.
Yet I had promised myself and God, to focus more on Christ, and His peace.
That peace which passes understanding. That peace, from the Holy Spirit, that I can claim, no matter what.
And, when circumstances, words, or emotions arose which threatened my peace, I would often retreat ASAP to a quiet place and carry it to Christ.
Note the word often in the sentence above. Running to my Savior is not always my knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes I prefer to stew. Or cry tears of frustration. Or locate some dark chocolate!
But none of these things offered that peace that passes understanding. Nothing could console or comfort like Christ.
These final weeks of 2013 have not been peaceful for me. In fact, they have been some of my most difficult weeks this year.
Yet, as I try to focus on that concept of peace, I learned something significant.
I need to rely on the Prince of Peace and allow Him to guide my reactions. If I plan on drawing nearer to God, not only can I carry my concerns to Christ, I absolutely must.
After twelve months of practicing this discipline, I’m more often turning to Christ more quickly, but I am also reminded of my frequent delinquency at times, and know I’m a work in progress.
And yet, my Prince never gives up on me, so neither will I.
Looking ahead to 2014, I’ve already decided on my focus for next year. I have high hopes it will be more fun, more positive, more fulfilling.
My word for 2014: JOY!
Monday: Reflect on 2013. How have you drawn closer to God? What evidence of James 4:7 can you document for 2013?
Tuesday: Reflect on the spiritually significant events of 2013 for you. How has God been drawing closer to you?
Wednesday: Happy New Year! Prayerfully consider a spiritual focus for 2014. Share your focus with someone to help keep you centered.
Thursday: Research your discipline. Include Scriptural references to memorize to keep a positive focus.
Friday: Prayer: Lord, Thank you that You care about every single area in my life. Nothing I see, experience, or feel is insignificant to You. Please open my heart to Your teaching this year, as I begin a new focus, and hopefully travel a path of deeper unsdertanding toward You. Thank you, for never giving up on me. Amen.