Pastor's Note - December 17
The other day I was talking to someone in the church who, by some miracle of the Lord, is actually finishing their whole-Bible-in-a-year devotional plan. I wasn't actually sure that was allowed... What a great testimony of God’s grace that they were actually able to see it through to the end of the year! That got me thinking about all the things I did not accomplish this year. And I am sure I am not alone. In any year, we may not have reached all of our goals, or accomplished all we wanted. That is especially true this past year, in which everyone’s life got turned upside down. As you reflect on the year that has passed, I would encourage you not to get too high or too low in relation to what you may have been able to achieve. Celebrate the victories, mourn or regret the failures, then move on. Why? Because our ultimate rest is in the Lord and His grace. We are not defined by our achievements; our worth is determined by what we produce. We are justified by faith, not by works! Our value ultimately rests on the fact that we are God’s image-bearers, for whom He sent His Son to redeem and save. In other words, God loves you. He loves you in failure and success, and He loved you before you loved Him. And we work and serve Him not to earn that love, but because we’ve already been given it in Jesus. We have been given great freedom to fail in grace, and succeed in grace. So as you may or may not think about next year’s goals, check your heart and motive. Aspire to great things because our God is great, and has greatly loved us, and his loving joy (or joyful love!) is a powerful thing. But don’t aspire to great things thinking that in some way you must prove your worth; to yourself, to others, or to God. May we all be satisfied in being justified by faith alone, by God’s grace alone, and because of His great love.