How are you different today from last year?
Do you like what you see? Or do you feel there is room for improvement?
(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article: How are you different today from last year?)
Think back one year. What were you like? Compare that with today. Do you have more patience and kindness? Are you more generous? Have you become better at showing a genuine care for others?
If not, then why not?
Think about this: What does it mean to be active in your Christianity? Does it just mean that you read your Bible, pray every day and go to church on Sundays? You can certainly incorporate these things into your daily routine, but are you just following patterns and doing what a Christian is supposed to do, or are you in a state of development?
We can read about our goal as Christians in 2 Peter 1:3-4: “… as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” What an incredible statement! Peter is actually saying that this is our goal: to come to divine nature through our situations here on earth! This means that a huge change has to take place in us.
So what do you do then, if you don’t feel any difference today from how you were last year?
Here’s the big question: Do you feel a need? Are you completely and utterly reliant on the help that God gives you to guide you through the day? Do you recognize that God’s ways are perfect and you are an imperfect human, full of the tendency to sin? Because if you don’t feel this need, then what are you doing to bring you closer to Godly nature while you are here on earth? Are you complacent with the state you are in?
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17.
Allowing complacency in our Christian lives is an incredible danger. We must never forget that in our natural state we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
As long as you are humble enough to call out for help, the Holy Spirit will come and guide you. The worst thing you can do is to be satisfied with yourself – to think there isn’t anything you need to work on in your life. At the end of Hebrews 11:6 we can read: “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” To diligently seek something means to do it tirelessly, endlessly. To be active in searching for it. God can steer a vessel that is moving, but not one that is standing still.
Someone asks you the question, “What are you working with right now to become a better Christian?” Do you have an answer for them? If you don’t, then you have allowed other priorities into your life. Other things that are top-of-mind instead of a life with Christ. You have become complacent with what you have and don’t feel a need to come any further. Proverbs 1:32 reads, “The complacency of fools will destroy them.”
It can happen that you have acquired some knowledge and have had some decisive moments of spiritual battle in your life. Is that enough? Are you done? No! You need to be in constant development each and every day. When you go to bed at the end of the day, you can think back and reflect on the choices you have made, checking to see if you have used the opportunities for development. Isn’t this much better than being satisfied? Isn’t it better than shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Oh well” when you fall to your sinful tendencies?
Recognizing the greatness of our calling
How is it that you can become satisfied with yourself so easily? It’s because you don’t see how serious it is to be transformed to divine nature day by day while you are here on earth. You are not actively seeking out and making the most of your opportunities to do God’s will! Is there ever a situation where you could say: “That’s probably enough thankfulness. I don’t need to be more thankful right now,” or, “I was kind yesterday so I don’t need to be kind again today?”
Every day is a gift you receive so you can come closer to divine nature. You should be in the same spirit of giving up your own will to do God’s will every day, every moment, every second! Then, and only then, will you see a massive change in yourself from year to year! A change that makes you fit for heaven!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.