Well… 2020 is his-to-ry… Bring it 2021! A New Year has begun and normally my reaction is — “Ok, it was bound to happen… the planet Earth is orbiting the sun after all… what’s the big deal?” Yeah… normally I don’t get too excited about a New Year… in fact… I worked all day on New Year’s Day, because, to me, it feels like the lamest holiday ever.
I mean New Year’s Day is behind National Potato Day to me… I do like potatoes… And yes, that is a thing… it’s August 19 this year. So, you can find me in my office on New Year’s Day, but on August 19… don’t bet on it. But I know some folks get excited about the New Year, because it’s… well… new. They see a New Start… New Opportunity… New Initiatives… So, I’m gonna roll with it today.
I read an article recently by Paul T. Johnson who works at Jeremiah Johnson Ministries that I think is a great reminder for a New Year. The writing in italics are his words.
Seven Ways To Quickly Backslide (in your faith)
- Undermine the authority of the Word of God by questioning its inspiration and infallibility. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Doubt previous encounters you’ve had with God by calling them coincidence or imagination. (John 20:25)
- Reject and eliminate godly accountability that challenges you and calls you higher. (James 5:16)
- Abandon the place of prayer and dependency on God by trusting in your own ability to lead and provide. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Stop giving financially to God and others, allowing greed and/or fear to choke out generosity. (Luke 16:11)
- Make time for temporal things (social media, television, video games, etc.) while claiming you don’t have time for spiritual things (worship, prayer, bible reading). (Galatians 6:8)
- Isolate from healthy leaders and friends and distance yourself from the local church. (Proverbs 18:1) Paul T. Johnson
I found these to be a good reminder to me of the importance of moving forward in my faith growth. You know, God expects us to grow… it is never wise or acceptable to become parked in our faith-we should always be advancing… always be pressing forward… always seeking His will and striving to be more like Jesus.
I love Paul’s challenge to Philemon when he wrote, “And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” Philemon 6 The more we experience and embrace the good things that we have in Christ… the more our faith grows… and the more growth we experience… the deeper our desire to love and serve generously.
So in 2021 would you join me in seeking to continue to strive for growth, and resist any temptation to slide backwards in our faith? May this be a year of abundance in faith, growth and spiritual fruit. And potatoes… because I do like potatoes…