A Message from Pastor John
In all honesty, I’ve never been very keen on making New Year’s resolutions… partly because I’ve felt they’re over-hyped and partly because the few times I’ve made them I haven’t followed through all that well. But, as we move through the Christmas season, entering a new year along the way, I’d like to suggest that we can all (and I’m including myself here) make a resolution and meet it with success.
Instead of focusing on diet, weight loss, exercise, and a host of other habits and behaviors during the coming year, how about zeroing in on strengthening our relationship with God as our main goal. Given how many times we may have failed at resolutions before, it’s easy to ask whether we really can change… and I’d say yes, we can change. Or, to be a little more accurate, to give God the room to change us.
We’ve just observed Christmas, a celebration of the coming in flesh of God the Son, the Christ, Emmanuel, God With Us, in and through whom we’re enabled to experience salvation and new life. But that work of God in our life is not yet complete. Paul invites us in Philippians 2:12-13 to “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Although God has begun a new work in us, we still have a part in completing that change. To “work out” is to “work to full completion.” Living a Christian life is work, even though Christ lightens the burden. And we “work out our salvation” by living out our faith, following God’s will in thought, word, and deed… all the while yearning and striving that our own wills may be conformed to God’s will in all its ways.
And so as we work out our salvation as our part, God’s part is to work within us to fulfill God’s good purpose, which is to transform us more fully into God’s image and through us to restore the world. I may not be too keen on exercising at the gym to get into better shape (after all, I’ve got to do ALL of the work there), but we can certainly get excited about “working out” to get in better spiritual shape… after all, we rely on God to do some of that work, and in that God will not fail.
Peace and blessings…