January 1, 2018

A Glance Back and A Gaze Ahead

“Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ.”  Hebrews 10:32 (NLT) 

When did you first learn about Christ?  Was it from a friend?  At church?  At home?  When did God become more than just a word to you?  When did faith become a personal relationship, and not just a religion, for you?  It’s good to take a look back and remember. The writer of Hebrews says, 

“Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ….” 

Remember the passion you felt for God – the feeling of relief from the burden of sin, guilt, and shame, the unspeakable joy, the peace and confidence of knowing that you were forgiven and accepted by God!  Temptation seemed to have lost its grip and you felt free!  Nothing else mattered as Jesus took first place in your life. It was euphoric; for some perhaps, even sensational! For others, the feelings may not have been as ecstatic, but the reality was the same.  God did a work of grace, and His grace was not without effect.  You were changed, born again!  Old things passed away, and all things became new!  You had a new outlook on life.  Hope replaced despair!

Just looking back for a moment causes gratitude to rise.  He chose me!  He chose you!  Before you set your gaze on the year ahead, glance back.  Consider what God has done and give Him thanks.  How did He work in your life in 2017?  What prayers did He answer?  In what ways have you grown spiritually?

God often called His people to reflect in worship.  Jacob returned to Bethel and built an altar.  Joshua left stones of remembrance on the other side of the Jordan.  Isaiah said, 

“Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined. Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor, and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation. Abraham was only one man when I called him. But, when I blessed him, he became a great nation.” Isaiah 51:1-2 (NLT)

Take some time today and think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ.  Share your experience with someone as you do this New Year!