2009 — A Year With Promise

I love the New Year.

Yet, the New Year 2009 sounds rather oddI suppose we will get used to saying "2009" until it no longer sounds odd but normal.  Nevertheless, it is here.  For some people the New Year means little more than getting off work for a day, watching football, and perhaps having family or friends come over for a meal.

The New Year really can be much more than this.  It can be a wonderful, powerful time of the year during which we take a good look at life, where we’ve been, and where we are going.  For me, it is a time for a lot of reflection, which is usually very helpful.  I often spend time thinking and praying about where I seem to be in my thinking, my feelings, my behavior, and my commitments.  After all, sometimes we move so quickly through life that we don’t really reflect on our day, our week, our month, or even our year.  Instead, we are in perpetual motion.  Have you ever known anyone who just could not be still?  Some people have difficulty stopping long enough to think.  In fact, some may be fearful of doing this kind of reflection and having to face life as it is.

Maybe a good place to begin is to look at both our "outside" and our "inside."  Think of your life as a house.  Most of the time, we only see the outside of someone’s house.  We may drive through a neighborhood and see house after house.  Yet, the outside of these houses really does not say that much about what is going on inside.  You’ve heard stories about the police entering a nice home only to discover scores of cats, filth everywhere, and piles and piles of garbage/trash.  What may look nice when you are driving by may actually look quite different once you get beyond the front door.  Beyond the front door may be a family that is barely functioning.  In fact, they may be strangers living under the same roof.

What are you like beyond the "front door" of your life?  Once you get beyond your appearance, your image, and what you hope to project to others, what are you really like inside?  Let me encourage you to join me in looking beyond the front door.  The New Year is such a good time to do this kind of work.

Is there a particular "room" in your life that needs attention?  For example:

1.  Health — Are you a good steward of the body God gave you?  Do you pay attention to how you care for and nurture your body?  Are you attentive to your need for nutrition, rest, and recreation?  Or, do you pay little, if any, attention to caring for your body?

2.  Relationships — What is it that characterizes your relationships?  Do your friends and family see you as "high maintenance"?  Are people in your life seeing Jesus in you?  Do they see you as a person who is serious about life as a Christ-follower?  Or, do they see you as little more than a person who "goes to church" on Sundays?

3.  Money — Are you growing in your stewardship?  Do you give liberally to your church and other kingdom-advancing causes?  What about the financial crisis that we, as a nation, are experiencing?  Are you learning to trust God during this time or are you worrying more?

Do you desire intimacy with God more than anything else?  After all, he deeply desires to have an intimate relationship with you.  As Ken Boa (Conformed to His Image, p. 32) has said, "Our Lord invites us to the highest calling of all — intimacy with him — and day after day, we decline the offer, preferring instead to fill our stomachs with the pods of short-lived pleasures and prospects."

"Thanks be to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast given us; for all the pains and insults which thou hast born for us.  O most redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly; for thine own sake."  (St. Richard of Chichester, 1197-1253) 


2009 is a year with promise.  The promise of the year is rooted in the goodness and sovereignty of God.  Thanks be to God that the future does not rest with us alone.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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13 thoughts on “2009 — A Year With Promise

  1. Thanks for these thoughts, Jim.  I needed them to get me started this year.  I found your idea of looking at my life as a house very helpful.  One thing I’ve noticed is that when I first move into a house I come in with clear ideas of what needs to be changed inside – replace a leaky faucet in the bathroom, paint scuffed baseboards in the hallway, add lighting over the kitchen sink, etc.  However, once I’ve moved in, unless the changes are made soon, I get to where I don’t even notice what I once saw as quite undesirable!  Perhaps our lives are like that!  We may stop noticing the undesirable traits that need our attention!  To carry this analogy a bit further, when I am planning to have guests over, I take a new look and suddenly I notice the leaky faucet, scuffed baseboards, and poor lighting again!  (This drives my husband nuts, but I won’t get into that :)).  Starting the new year is a good time to invite the Holy Spirit to take a tour with me and identify the areas in my life that particularly need His intervening presence. I appreciate this blog, Jim.  Happy New Year to you and Charlotte!

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve always been one who takes time to reflect, especially at the threshold of a new year. But often it is like stepping away from the mirror and we quickly forget what needs our attention or other seemingly more pressing issues demand our attention and we keep going down rabbit trails. I can’t do this clean up process on my own – I need His Holy Spirit.  I thank God that He faithfully continues the work day in and day out.  I thank Him for ever growing intimacy the longer we walk together, my God and I.  I want to let my light shine in 2009!

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    May your life be filled with happiness as you daily
    experience the blessings of God in the New Year!

  4. I apologize for making such a mess, Jim. I really just wanted to say: May your life be filled with happiness as you daily experience the blessings of God in the New Year!

  5. Connie– Wonderful throughts!  I like what you have done with this analogy.  In particular, I like the point you made regarding our getting used to the "house" as it is, once we’ve lived with it for awhile.Happy New Year to you as well.  Thanks Connie.

  6. Karin– Thanks very much.  Your comment is a reminder of our constant need for the one who can make significant changes in our lives.  Thanks.

  7. Marianne,Thank you for your comment.  Your prayer is a reminder of the importance of begnning the year by praying that what God wants in our lives might be seen, done, etc.  Thanks so much. I look forward to looking at the two sites that you linked.

  8. What a great post… thanks, Jim!  Your theme reminded me of a booklet by Robert Boyd Munger called My Heart Christ’s Home, looking at the different ‘rooms’ inside of us.  I like the new look of your blog, too.  Peace to you in this new year.

  9. Chris,Thanks very much.  You know, I recall seing Munger’s pamplet about twenty years ago.  I probably picked up the image there and had long since forgotten the source.  Thanks for the reminder.  Thanks for your comment, Chris.