There is just something about the freshness and unscripted possibilities of a brand new year. I love starting new, opening a new calendar, dreaming of what the future may hold. It’s exciting and overflowing with hope. A wonderful year of fullness and expectancy stretches out ahead of us. Yes, I am sure there will be challenges. And yes, there will likely be celebrations. Instead of approaching the new year with a list of things I want to improve in my life, what if I simply was thankful for already having everything I will need for the coming year?
Second Peter 1:3 tells us that “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” and Ephesians 1:3 says that “Jesus has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.’
What does it mean to really believe that everything I will ever need is found in Jesus? It would mean I am full. In this moment, I already have what I need. The eternal Kingdom of God exudes abundance and health and joy. I don’t have to wait until I die to have these things. I have them right now because I am united with Christ in His Kingdom. What is a list of resolutions compared with the power of the living God? A self-improvement plan can provide changes in your life, but Jesus gave us something even better than a self-improvement plan. He gave us fullness.
Wait A Minute
“But,” you say… “I don’t have everything I need!” I am less than where I want to be, less than who I want to be. We tend to look over our previous year and see where we were lacking or where we came up short and we are inspired to try harder this year to do better in these areas… Lose weight, save money, be nicer, get a new job, make changes around the house, give more. What is so wrong with wanting to improve in the areas we see we need to grow in? Nothing really. In fact they may be realistic needs. However, we don’t need to operate according to the world system. The world system focuses on lack and tries to resolve it. Often it is a perpetual climb that never quite arrives at the summit. The Kingdom of God, or the eternal kingdom, operates on a system of abundance. Everything you ever need is there in that Kingdom. Healing is there. Peace is there. Patience, kindness, generosity, self-control, joy, faith, all of these are interwoven into this Kingdom. Because you are joined with Christ, you are there. But if you don’t know you are there, you will revert to the world system because that is what you are used to, what makes sense to the human mind.
“Isn’t this a bit boring?” you may ask. I mean if I just walk around saying I have everything I need and ignore those areas in my life that do need improvement, won’t I just be as ridiculous as the emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes? Won’t it be a cop out on life? Won’t I become complacent and lay around on my couch all day? Won’t I just make excuses so I don’t have to grow? You forget you are joined to the Creator of the Universe, the one who made tulips and mountains, and giraffes and your mother. God is amazingly gifted and as we rest in Him, I promise you there is so much more He wants to give you than you want to work at on your own. His ways are magnificent. His creativity is boundless. His heart is extravagant.
The Way of the Eternal Kingdom
The Kingdom of God does not operate as the world system does. The eternal kingdom is what is underneath and around the temporary Kingdom of this World. It is the stronger, more real kingdom. We tend to forget that because we are entrenched in the way of the world. Religion is based on the world system of seeing what is lacking and attempting to fix it. Even the Pharisees in the Old Testament were trying to help people improve. They were not trying to tempt people to sin, they thought (according to the world system) that they knew best how to eradicate the sin around them. They used the age old techniques of shame and condemnation as well as the promise of increased status and human admiration. However, Jesus came to tell us about a different Kingdom. This kingdom is based on God and His eternal love for us. What we have in Him increases. We don’t linger on what is lacking, we see what we’ve been given in Jesus and continue forward, remembering these things, meditating on them, being thankful for them. And one day… that thing that you wanted so badly to improve upon… is somehow taken care of and you’re not even sure how it happened.
God with us. Jesus was referred to as Immanuel which means “God with us.” If God is with us, doesn’t that automatically give us a sense of expectancy? An expanding confidence in the care of a loving Father?
So rather than make resolutions according to the world system this year, let’s try a new way. Look at what you do have. Thank God for all that you have. There is no need to ignore or pretend there are no areas you need to grow in, but that is not the main focus. The main focus is on Him. What if, instead of trying a new diet plan, you thanked God each day for your body, for how beautiful it is in His eyes. Maybe that would lead you to naturally wanting to take better care of your body through nutrition and exercise. What if you thanked Jesus for his abundant provision for you and all the new ideas He has for meeting your needs in the coming year? What if that led to a brilliant thought of how to earn money from an unconventional and fun way? What if we started IN the Kingdom of God, looking around at the beauty and abundance and peace that is there and lived out of that? Wouldn’t that be more fun? Wouldn’t that be easier? This year, let’s enjoy a year of fullness and expectancy!