After a rowdy get-together with old school friends, morning muffins, a walk in the New Year sunshine, meals with family, and a wonderful ceilidh, I've well and truly said hello to 2013. Happy New Year!I've been learning lately about God's sovereignty worked out through human actions, and His overwhelming concern for our character. Somehow, God invites us to be part of his master plan, and actually chooses to incorporate our decisions in that. He cares what happens to us down to the most finite details, but above all, His desire is to live in community with His people.I know that God's big picture is far beyond my understanding- but, generally, I'm so slow to recognise God for who He is. Three in One, He is my Father in heaven, our awesome loving, just and holy creator; my living all-in all Savior, who is Jesus Christ - God with us (!) to live, serve and die that we might have life; and the Holy Spirit, who is God at work in the world and in me to guarantee and bring his completed kingdom ever-nearer. I'm asking myself lately whether I am really living like this is true.
I quickly forget the steadfast love and faithfulness God demonstrates every day, reluctant to trust him. As a christian, I'm called to live in loving community with God and his people, to pray continually and to think on his word night and day. Experiencing glimpses of this existence brings joy in Jesus Christ like nothing else, but however foolishly, I fail to treasure and make use of His freely-given gifts. I struggle every day to fully take hold of, and live in light of God's promises. Simply put, my God-motivation is lacking.My own resolve is too weak for new years resolutions which, for me, invite failure and demonstrate no commitment to lasting change. I could promise myself to read the bible for an hour every day but at heart, if I don't want to treasure and apply its life-words, the exercise is pointless. So often I'm waiting for a great revival to happen around me and neglecting to prayerfully consider the revival needed within me. Don Carson cites the most urgent need of the Church as our need to know God better.'When it comes to knowing God, we are a culture of the spiritually stunted. So much of our religion is packaged to address our felt needs - and these are almost uniformly anchored in our pursuit of our own happiness and fulfillment. God simply becomes the Great Being who, potentially at least, meets our needs and fulfills our aspiriations. We think rather little of what he is like, what he expects of us, what he seeks in us. We are not captured by his holiness and his love; his thoughts and words capture too little of our imagination, too little of our discourse, too few of our priorities' - (A call to spiritual reformation)My hope for 2013 is that I would see God for who he really is, and live accordingly. I want to be captured by his holiness and love, allowing his thoughts and words to invade my imagination and shape my priorities. I have an overwhelming need to trust Jesus more, and to live more firmly in light of his promises.The exciting thing is that I can see this happening slowly, but at best my self-efforts are fruitless failings. I want to know and love God more, but only He himself, through his Spirit, can bring lasting change. Lets make this a prayer for 2013 and beyond.O HOLY SPIRIT,As the sun is full of light,the ocean full of water, Heaven full of glory,so my heart be full of thee. Vain are all divine purposes of loveand the redemption wrought by Jesusexcept thou work within,regenerating by thy power,giving me eyes to see Jesus,showing me the realities of the unseen world.Give me thyself without measure,as an unimpaired fountain,as inexhaustible richesI bewail my coldness, poverty, emptiness,imperfect vision, languid service,prayerless prayers, praisesless praisesSuffer me not to grieve or resist thee.Come as power, to expel every rebel lust, to reign supreme and keep me thine;Come as teacher, leading me into all truth, filling me with all understanding;Come as love, that I may adore the Father, and love him as my all;Come as joy, to dwell in me, move in me, animate me;Come as light, illuminating the Scripture, moulding me in its laws;Come as sanctifier, body, soul and spirit wholly thine;Come as helper, with strength to bless and keep, directing my every step;Come as beautifier, bringing order out of confusion, loveliness out of chaos.Magnify to me thy glory by being magnified in me,and make me redolent of thy fragrance.(from 'The Valley of Vision: A collection of puritan prayers and devotions)