Now is Later
So, it’s almost 2018 and another year has passed and another year is before you. New Year’s is a great time to evaluate your life, to highlight areas of maturity and to be honest about bad habits you have formed.
For some of us, 2017 was a banner year, a year of triumph and achievement and growth.
For others, 2017 was a year we’d just as soon forget, a year of loss and failure and sorrow.
Regardless of how your 2017 went, here’s something you need to know: God’s love for you at the end of 2017 is the same as it was at the beginning of the year.
So if you’ve been a victor in 2017, God loves you the same. You haven’t earned any more “points” with God because He can’t possibly love you more today than He did a year ago.
Or if you’ve been a miserable failure in 2017, God loves you the same. You’re failures haven’t earned you “the silent treatment” from a petulant, moody God. God’s favor toward you is based not on your performance, but on His unmatched love for you and by Jesus perfect sacrifice on the cross. Because of Jesus, God favors you, God is “okay” with you, because He’s satisfied with His Son, Jesus.
Now, how does that affect how we live in 2018? You might think that God’s unconditional love might move you to laziness, but the more you dive into the gospel, the more motivate you will be to work up to who you are in Christ. That is to say, when you realize the depth of God’s love for you, you can’t help but commit to living His Way.
The Scriptures often describe our lives as short. When you are young, you don’t see your life as short. All you see are years and decades stretched out infinitely. But the older you get, the more you realize how fleeting and fast the years are. It seems every year passes faster than the last. 2017 was a blur.
Because life is short, because you have a limited time on this earth, you need to live your life with a sense of holy urgency. Paul says this to the Romans, where he points to the soon return of Jesus as the reason to “wake up.” Christians in Pauls’ day as now are often lulled into the world’s ethic of “eat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow we die.” This sort of hopelessness fuels a life of straying, inactivity, drifting. Life is hopeless, so why try?
Except, if you know Jesus, life isn’t hopeless and Christ is soon coming to reign as King. This means the darkness and depravity and hopelessness are ending. A new day is dawning.
So, those of us who know the Lord, who are loved by Him, who have experienced his transforming work of grace, we should live radically different, with a sense of urgency and intentionality about our lives.
We should live in 2018 on purpose.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.