Building on the Past's Foundation
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)
Each year as the New Year arrives, I feel the familiar conflict … make resolutions or avoid them? On one hand, there’s the excitement of starting fresh and the hope for better outcomes. Most of the time, however, I don’t feel expectancy at all. Instead, I’m overcome by the fear of failure and the "what ifs" of trying again.
This year, I found a principle in Scripture that helps me approach resolutions with anticipation instead of dread. Today’s key verses show us how to plan our future with a focus on thankfulness. They help us plan for the future from a past with a solid foundation and a present pattern of growth.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7, emphasis added)
When I think back over the years, it’s amazing to look back at how life changes once we’re dedicated to Jesus as Lord. Through mountaintop experiences, the thrill of learning new truths, and the shaping of hardships, we become rooted and strengthened. Jesus builds a foundation in us that can’t be shaken, so we can thank Him for the past.
Today, in our present, He calls us to "live in him." With all the demands of life around us, we can struggle to concentrate on living our life in God, but His benefits — peace, guidance, love and forgiveness — are the valuable payoff for our focus. He has given us the precious gift of living in Him, so we’re thankful to Him for our present.
As we remember the past and intentionally make Him the most important part of our present, we will be "built up in him." Here’s where it gets exciting for the future! The Greek word for "built up" here means "to increase the potential of someone or something, with focus upon the process involved."
It’s amazing and true. God created each of us with a well of talent and budding gifts. Scripture says that God has good works created for you in advance (Ephesians 2:10), so plan away for the New Year! Ask God to build you up in 2015, revealing the potential He’s embedded in you. But as you look toward the future, don’t forget the past or the present — cover it all with a blanket of thankfulness.
This morning I sat in silence watching the first rays of dawn creep into my windows. There was no fanfare or pageantry. It was a humbling moment brimming with deep peace and overwhelming gratitude, so …
I thanked God for my past:
My parents who raised me in a home where we loved God.
All the hard times and bad decisions that have made me see my need for Jesus.
The Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders who have taught me.
Blessings He poured out along the way: family, jobs I’ve loved, jobs I’ve disliked, home.
Then I moved on to simple, present gifts:
The steaming mug in my hands.
A fire warming the room.
My little, red dog snoring on the coach.
Companionship of friends who fully know me and yet love me.
Love and kindness from my husband.
Laughter from my boys.
Grace poured on me by my Creator.
Finally, I thanked God for 2015 with all its possibilities:
For lessons yet to learn.
For dreams yet to be fulfilled.
For growth experiences.
For all the things unknown.
Now it’s your turn. Even if 2015 hasn’t started out the way you wanted … be thankful. Dream. Plan. Make resolutions built on the foundation of your past and the abiding of your present. I’m anticipating the rest of what God has in store for you in 2015!
Lord, we thank You for this new year and new beginnings, and we also praise You for the present moment. God, use pieces of the past and gifts of the present to build the future You have planned for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 4: 2, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." (NIV)
Psalm 28:7, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." (NIV)
The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst can help you make wise decisions in the midst of endless demands.
Visit Amy Carroll's blog for more about dreams for the future.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are you thankful for in 2014? Write your list in a journal or on a piece of paper to post in your home.
Spend time in prayer thanking God for all He did in your life last year.
Ask Him to help you set divinely-inspired goals for 2015.