So at the end of 2012, I want to talk to you today about reflection. Not getting down on yourself about all the failures, mistakes, or shortcomings of the year. But about looking at the past year reflecting on it, taking it in and learning from it. Something that I always say as a joke, but also very true is that “You live and you learn”. You mess up once, understandable, but take that experience and learn from it. Learn not to make the same mistakes over and over again. Really apply yourself, your will, and the strength and grace we have to overcome from the Holy Spirit to not making the same mistakes over and over again. Just like in life, when you overdraft by using your bank card when you don’t have any money, you learn not to do it again, or you get kicked in the hinder with a overdraft fee. A lot of times it is easy to get down on ourselves when trying to live this awesome Christian life for God and we screw it up by some sort of sin or mistakes, but since you made the mistake, go to God to ask forgiveness and he will give you a fresh start. Not only that, but you now have an experience in your life to learn from. Remember, God’s mercies are new every morning. He is always there to run to and to forgive any time we screw up (that’s not an excuse to sin, that would be another story, his grace isn’t a license to sin, but his grace is there to make us strong and to overcome.) This is a great time to reflect on the past year and learn from our mistakes and shortcomings and make the decision to change some things around whether that be overcoming an addiction, setting priorities straight, or just simply making more time for God and his call on your life. Yes, forgive yourself for your mishaps, but learn from them to not do them again. Ask God for grace and strength to keep strong and in pursuit of him. Know that when you do mess up, not to run from him further into darkness and sin, but run to him for he is there with open arms to receive you and love you and direct you.
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
Phillipians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,”
Forget the sins the you have committed, don’t dwell on them and let them drag you down, instead, you have learned from your mistakes, now strive forward towards God and keep your eyes on him. We all have a past, maybe even the past year that we want to forget, and we can do just that, give it to God and let his mercies cleanse you and make you clean, now that you are clean, run towards God and his plan for your life.
My challenge to you today is to reflect on what you have learned from life’s experiences this past year and declare this new year a time of dedication to God and his plan for your life. You have learned you can’t always do things on your own, you need God leading the way. You have learned that certain sins lead to certain results, but with God’s help we can over come that sin. You have learned that you feel emptier inside, because you haven’t given God the time of day when it comes to spending time with him and you aren’t pursuing his call in your life, so set aside that time daily to spend with him and follow where he leads. I challenge you to learn from this past year and decide what is right for you this year as it pertains to God and his calling and desire for you!