after christmas, before the year ends

Perhaps in no year-end past have I ever been made more aware simultaneously of the glories of Christ, and the depths of sin.

I studied Philippians over the course of 3 days, seeing the wonder that is gospel partnership, the incredible unity there is between those in Jesus Christ. The very next day I am confronted with the realities of church: the abuse of authority, the rebellion against authority, the friction between sinners, the brokenness that is a people waiting for their Saviour’s return. So often we do not look like a church.

I read through 1 Samuel, witnessing a young shepherd boy so in love with God, so enthralled by Him, that he is willing to endure the abuse and evil of men all for the sake of following His king. I think of Jesus the better David, who endured unimaginable abuse and torture in obedience to His Father. Then I turn to my own life and see how proud, how arrogant, how clingy I am to that which I foolishly desire. And I remember that David too fell. There is no hope in men, neither in others or within ourselves.

What hope is there for us in this broken world? Is there a king who would unite us? Is there a king who would save us?

Yes, there is. There came a king who would unite us not by political or social means, but by uniting us to His very self, that we might be united to God. And in doing so He has torn down every dividing wall of hostility, every single one of them. A king who came to save us from our sins. To give us a righteousness we could not have on our own.

I was going to stop the post here, but the past few days in the states have given me cause to pause and take stock. Perhaps triggered by the expected tense environment travelling with my family, or the odd sense of unease that comes between Christmas and New Year – either way i have much to meditate on.

Every night I am on the brink of tears as I think back to how much I do not love Jesus, how much He does not factor into my daily decisions. Day after day I find myself angry, confused, frustrated. My family doesn’t read the Bible together. Yet who I am to ask them to? Do I love the Bible? What part of my life warrants that kind of instruction?

My stomach churns at the thought of my family and the state we are in, yet it falls to the floor when i contemplate my own sinfulness. O God how I have wasted my years! Jesus I am in desparate need of you, your grace, your love. Who else can love me? Whose love will I turn to?

I read Matthew 21:16 this morning and thought to myself, ‘Lord, what an obnoxious response! Why didn’t you just tell them that You were indeed the Son of David long awaited?’ Then I remember that more obnoxious is that we have not recognised Him as our long awaited king. Have I not committed the double evil? I have abandoned You the fountain of living water, and have dug cisterns for myself, cracked cisterns that hold no water. O Lord I am in desparate need of You.

And yet I have You. Lord I forget so quickly! Does not Your Spirit dwell within me? Has not Jesus paid the price for my sins? Has He not ascended, and is seated at the Father’s right hand interceeding for me? You are still guiding me, still shepherding me. You are a living God! You have not died and remained dead, but have been brought back to life.

God, this world sickens me. It is hard to remain hopeful, loving, in a world like this. Yet Jesus you are my hope. You have always been our hope. Lord this is not the finality, the end, the world that will remain. This is the world that will disappear, and with it all the sinfulness we see today.

Jesus afix my eyes on You this coming year. Keep me looking to where I will, must be looking for every year to come.

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