Like me, you have probably heard someone say that they are glad 2017 is over. It was a year of turmoil, angst, and disappointment. Negative news reports seemed to dominate the cycle. It was a tough year on many fronts. So what will 2018 be like? Is there hope for change in our world in 2018 – change for the better?
As Christians, our hope is to be agents of change – of grace, peace, forgiveness, and love – in the midst of a world clearly broken by the effects of sin. We hope that our presence in the world, in 2018, will somehow make it better. We know that if we are going to effect positive change we ourselves must continue to grow and change for the good. That is the call of all followers of Jesus: to increasingly love and live like Jesus. “Increasingly” means we are personally changing, and growing. Most of us would acknowledge that is a good thing.
Two questions come to mind as I think about change. 1) How do we want to change? 2) How do we effect that change?
The first question is easier to answer – at least it should be. We want to change to become more like Jesus. The Bible gives us lots of direction on that front. Sometimes we are guilty of waiting for God to give us some new revelation of how we are to live or what He wants us to do next. We actually don’t need any new revelations from God to tell us what to do, we just need to pay closer attention to what he has already asked us to do in his Word. When it comes to what God wants us to do, we can’t say God is silent when our Bibles are closed.
Of course, Scripture is also a key in the answer to the second question of how we can affect the right kind of change in our lives. How can we grow as a disciple of Jesus? How can we grow to be more like him? There is no end to the books written that address that question. Additionally, that is purpose Jesus gave to the Church, so we all look to the church to help us. But, at risk of oversimplifying, let me suggest a small (BIG) step we can all take to help us with that. I read recently that 75% of your growth as a Christian comes through what you immerse your life in. Wow! 75%. What a great starting place.
So I ask: what is your life immersed in? Be honest. If most of your life is immersed in yourself, or in recreation, or even in your family, then that will impact your growth as a Christian. If we want to grow in the likeness of Jesus, it means that we must be immersing ourselves in Him.
I challenge to you do a personal inventory. What is your life mostly immersed in? Take a good honest look. Whatever it is, it is impacting your discipleship probably more than you realize. Be thoughtful about what you immerse yourself in, for it will impact how you can be used to make 2018 better than 2017. And wouldn’t it be great if God used all of us to help change our world for the better in 2018?