Sunday, 3 January 2016

Pursuits in 2016

In our reckoning we have begun a new year. No doubt we have things that we would like to do in the next twelve months and are planning for them even now. We are looking ahead with great anticipation to what is coming. The prospect leads us to pray that they will occur. We will speak about them to our friends and they will sense our excitement. The financial cost of what we plan may be a bit steep, yet we estimate that the price is worth paying because we will discover and experience something beneficial.
I cannot say if Paul regarded the coming of another year as special. Perhaps the uncertainties of life made him take each day as it came, although he does mention future plans on several occasions in his letters. In one of them, his letter to the Philippians, he states what he would like to experience in the days ahead, and his desire is one that we should all share.
Paul writes in Philippians 3:10 that his desire, indeed his ambition, is to know Jesus better. As has often been pointed out, his words are not the focus of a new convert who is learning about Jesus for the first time. Instead, Paul has been a believer in Jesus for over two decades and during that time he has discovered many amazing things about Jesus. No doubt, it was what he had experienced already from Jesus that pushed Paul on to know more.
In that passage, Paul says that he knew the pursuit of knowing Jesus could be costly in that he might have to endure sufferings in order to keep walking closely with Jesus. Others would not appreciate his intense desire and would regard him as a mad extremist. Yet he also knew that resurrection power would be conveyed to him by Jesus, and that power would enable Paul to persevere in his lofty ambition of knowing Jesus better.
2015 has come and gone, and we all will have learned things that we did not know when it began. If we are Christians, we should know Jesus better as a result of 2015, and we will if we have spent 2015 pursuing him for his presence, his pardon, his peace, his power, and his fulfillment of promises.

Yet December 31st, 2015 was not the day of reaching the spiritual equivalent of ascending to the top of Everest. Wherever we reached in 2015 in getting to know Jesus, there is much more to find. So 2016 can be a year of discovering that Jesus is much bigger that we have found so far.

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