Taking last year in to the New Year

Published 8:13 pm Friday, December 27, 2013

How was this year for you? I wonder if circumstances this year were mostly comfortable or mostly challenging for you. What kind of year was it for you? Was this a notable year or just a sort of hum drum go through the motions kind of year? Here are two thoughts to use the good and the bad from 2013 to do what you can do to make 2014 a notable year in your life.

Adversity is the sharpening stone of fortune. Difficult circumstances in our lives can break us or they can shape us. I’m convinced that our creator allows a great amount of challenges in our lives so that the challenges can keep recreating us into the person that God intends for us to become.

He is the potter and we are the clay. Through all of the circumstances in our lives God is directly and indirectly shaping us. He pulls us in this direction and He allows circumstances to push us in another direction. All the while, He is in control.

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The first century Greek philosopher Horace said, “Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.” This coming year I’m going to take a personal inventory of the difficult situations in my life from the past year. I may actually write them down. Then I intend to look them over to see what I can learn from those challenges.

I’m not going to let the challenges from the past year dictate my destiny in the year to come. I’m going to allow them to reveal greater depths of me. In other words, I’m going to sharpen my mind on the whetstone of difficulties I’ve faced.

What about the good things from this past year? It may sound counterintuitive, but the good times are more dangerous for our growth as people than are the challenging times. William Hazlitt said it well: “Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.”

If we want to learn from the good things from the past year we’ve got to disallow them from making us pampered and spoiled. We can’t take for granted the love of a spouse, the kindness and generosity of a friend, a supportive boss or any other good thing that we enjoyed this past year.

The best way to honor the good things God has given us is to learn and grow in our gratitude. Not only to God for giving us the good things in our life but also to the people through whom He has given them.

The best way to shape the future is to learn from the past while moving forward in faith. Take the lessons learned from last year, wrap them in faith, and then trust God in whatever direction He leads you this year.

I’m praying God’s blessing on all of my friends and readers in Suffolk for a year of growing faith in God and fruit in your life.