“…if My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
—2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
If you’re reading this, you have made it through another year. Whether year 2019 was good, bad, so-so or a combination of all of the above, it’s time to end this chapter of your life’s book and start a new one entitled “2020”. As Believers, on a personal level, ending 2019 by reflecting, thanking, assessing, and praising God for His blessings alongside consecrating 2020 to Him are wise responses.
Additionally, there is inward work and practices we can undertake for the good of all. That’s what the scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14 calls us to do: Individual devotion to change and growth in God. And His response is forgiveness of our sins and collective healing.
Listed below are five ways to turn the page on 2019 that could, I propose, get us all more in tune with God in 2020 if we each put them into action.
- Turn the page on self-defeating behaviors. Know who you are and to Whom you belong. John 12:1 describes just who, we, Believers are in Christ, Who gave His all for our salvation: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (NASB) As children of God, neglecting or abusing ourselves is costly. We need to replenish and engage in mind, body, and soul care through healthy, Godly living to be productive in The Kingdom.
- Turn the page on self-obsessing. This is an age of self-indulgence. But contrary to popular culture and despite we Christians' kinship in God’s Kingdom, we are called to be humble. Of servanthood and servant leadership, Jesus instructs in Mark 9:35, “…’If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” (NASB) We have a responsibility to serve those in our charge and God is pleased when we help meet the needs of the invisible and marginalized all around us.
- Turn the page on a lazy prayer life. Make your prayer life not situational but pre-eminent. It’s both humbling and thrilling to know the God of the universe wants to commune with each of us! As Isaiah 30:21 describes, “Your ears will hear a Word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (NASB) Regular and continual conversations with God will bring peace and direction.
- Turn the page on a superficial, head-knowledge of God. Learn of God by following Christ. As we see in 1 John 2:6, “Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” (NASB) This is accomplished by the study of His Word and ways. Commune with the Holy Spirit regularly so that imitating Christ becomes a natural response to your environment.
- Turn the page on lacking discipline and self-control. In other words: repent. Surrender to Christ and do a 180° turn from sin. There is a scripture that admonishes us to, “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;” – Matthew 3:8 (NASB) Repent, then BE the change, not only for yourself but for the greater good.
We who have confessed our belief in Christ are His children. His Holy Spirit is available for us from the moment of our decision to follow Him and He longs to commune with us continually. He not only came to save us but to model the behaviors we need to care for ourselves, each other, and draw others to Him. Let’s explore Chapter 2020 through the lens of renewed commitment and surrendering to God.
Have a healthy, blessed New Year!