By Pastor Kevin Barnhart
Spring Grove Evangelical Free
Everyone runs to the gym, memberships spike, diet plans soar, fitness coaches, life coaches, all kinds of new year’s resolutions are being planned right now as I type. Those are all good things; do them, stick to them. But what if this year, instead of a new goal, we all grabbed hold of an ancient promise, a past decision, a lost relationship, an old goal? Old goal, old promise – new you.
Do you remember when you first fell in love with Jesus? The Word of God invaded your whole heart, soul, mind, and body. It is the most amazing incredible, life-giving experience anyone can have. That moment when you understand at a visceral level that Jesus isn’t just some cool guy, he is not just someone your parents think is important, or someone that is worshiped on Sunday mornings – but that Jesus is the King, that For God sent His one and only begotten Son so that who shall ever believe in Him will have eternal life becomes the sweetest words written just for you. On that day you realized how Christ left His heavenly home, left His kingdom, was born in a manger to a virgin and a carpenter, with no one there minus some animals and eventually some shepherds, lived a common ordinary and painful life and would choose the road to Golgotha to die for our sins to be humiliated, crushed, deserted, mocked, and ultimately crucified. His story, His love for you for all of us is absolutely too great to comprehend.
Ah, but life as it inevitably does, comes barging in. A diagnosis, a death, a lost job, a dream job, a mansion on the hill, a jam-packed life, three jobs, no money, trouble with family, a divorce, epic failures, epic success all of it threatening our love, our time, our relationship to our Savior. Life came plowing in barricading, snuffing out, lying, stealing, bargaining, and blocking out our once fervent love for Him. Our flaming fire and love for Christ dims to a small flicker, or perhaps it completely dies out.
It happens to all of us. Somehow our focus shifts from the love of our life, from the one whom we know is our LORD and Savior, our KING and it moves slowly like the gentle shifting of the sand back towards us. Perhaps only in degrees, tiny movements, so small that often we don’t even realize we have moved at all until we find ourselves empty, baron, and devoid; not even knowing where you got off His pathway.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it…
He emptied himself, he left His home, He came for us. Perhaps we found him once at one point and some days or maybe just on Sundays.
New year, new you, ancient old promise. I know that appropriating the love of God in a broken world is not easy. Finding Him in the darkness can feel nearly impossible. But let me suggest this; it is not His light that has grown dim but ours. He shines. He is brilliant. He was, is, and evermore will be. The promise that He made He makes.
Let us take this day and return to HIM. It is not a new year’s goal. It is an appropriation of an ancient old promise that takes two hands reaching. God will stretch His hands from heaven to earth from the earth to the cross and He will come within a breath of you… He will SHINE, will you? As it is with any love, we must nurture it for love to flourish and grow. Life will try and gently nudge us off course, it will. This year, perhaps this day let His LOVE find you again. Let Him be your everything, not simply your Sundays, or your backseat driver, your security badge, or your stamp into heaven, invite Jesus back into the driver’s seat, rekindle the love, lay down your life, empty yourself (best you can) as Jesus emptied Himself for you and re-enter into YOUR greatest LOVE story ever written. This is not a new year’s goal, this is a daily goal FOREVER and EVER, amen!