Getting back on the horse

We've all done this in one way or another.

We’ve all done this in one way or another.

With the turn of the New Year, there are many who are gearing up to make resolutions for 2015.

Of course, these serve as a reminder to most of us who still have goals “in progress” for 2014. A friend of mine in a recent conversation actually conceded forgetting her goals for this year, adding, “Thank God for New Years because this is bad.” (Admittedly, I probably did the least I could do to “technically” achieve my modest goals, enough for me to have a new set for 2015.)

Whether it is a diet that lasted a week, an obligation left unfulfilled or a habit still intact, there is something about this time of year that makes us want to re-saddle our proverbial horses. While these are noble causes to take up to begin the year, I’d like to charge you with something a bit weightier.

This may not apply to you, but I know there are those who started the year following Jesus and are now not following him.

“How?” you might ask.

Because there are forces that are constantly against those following Jesus that are designed to dissuade us from doing just that. These include, “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things” (Mark 4:19).

There are many who started the journey, but were unable to finish. Scripture names a few of these people: Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:19-20), Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) and, of course, Judas (Acts 1:16-18).

The great news is that this does not have to be your final destination! Sure, you stopped serving Jesus for a reason. You may not even have a desire to follow him at this moment. However, if recommitting to that diet or exercise program is worth it, surely you’re willing to consider the one who you gave your life to in the first place.

You know, there are those who veered off Christ’s path only temporarily, eventually finding their way back. Included in these ranks are the 11 guys who started the church!

On the night of Jesus’ arrest, the Lord predicted of his 11 disciples “You will all fall away” (Mark 14:27), and sure enough, “everyone deserted him and fled” (v. 50). Peter even put the icing on the cake by denying Jesus three times that same evening (Luke 22:54-62).

Jesus, though, accounted for the missteps of his loyal followers and had plans for them beyond their deserting him. He says in Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

The Lord accounts for every step of our journey, even when we believe we are not walking with him. As King Solomon so wisely says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). He is always near, and willing to receive us even after being rejected.

It’s not too late, but now is the time and today is the day! There’s no need to wait! Unlike a resolution, recommitting to Christ is not something you wait to do at the beginning of every year.

It could even be that you have been following Jesus this year, but not with the passion or zeal that you know should characterize your walk of faith. Take heed to Christ’s words to the Ephesian and Laodicean churches in Revelation and recover “the love you had at first” (2:4) by opening the “door” of your heart for a fresh encounter with him (3:20).

Personally, I want to feel that I am growing closer to Christ with each passing year. There are some spiritual disciplines that I need to reestablish in my life, and some additions that I should make. I’m grateful, though, that the Lord is committed to finishing this incomplete work (Philippians 1:6) and desires for me to grow in the grace and knowledge of him (2 Peter 3:18) as I take this journey.

As 2014 fades and 2015 dawns, get excited about following Jesus again. Get excited about the new territory he will lead you to, and the prospect of knowing him like you never have.

Let’s not look back at the end of next year with a list of half-accomplished, half-forgotten goals. Instead, let’s find ourselves content in the Lord and anticipating the next leg of the race (if the Lord wills).

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~ by christianballenger on December 29, 2014.

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