“Prepare the soil of your life for the seeds of hope that the Lord longs to plant deep within your heart and soul.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 30, 2021
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5, ESV
With the festivities of Christmas morning behind us, there is a quiet that often descends upon the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Within this space, as we close the chapter on one year and begin to prepare for the next, we encounter an invitation into deeper and intentional reflection, looking back at the year in order to both celebrate and grieve, marking the days with intentionality and purpose.
It is remarkably easy to let the days roll into months, and the months into years, without ever pausing to take account of the moments of God’s faithfulness and comfort, as well as the pain and deep burdens we carry upon our backs. Life is filled with consolation and desolation, joy and sorrow, comfort and trial. Growth in the way of Wisdom requires that we pause long enough to notice these moments within our hearts and lives, and offer them to the Lord in prayers of thanksgiving and lament.
One of the central lies we are told and prone to believe is that things resolve on their own simply by ignoring them or pressing them down. We think the “Christian” response is to smile and suck it up, internalizing our fears and failures, rather than allowing them to rise to the surface so that our Lord can bring his healing to our greatest places of need. This, in fact, is the response of faith, and one that leads us, as St. Paul says, into a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith.
Before the story of this year concludes, take time for an intentional and extended self-examen. What stands between you and purity of heart? Is it secret sin or patterns of brokenness in your own life, perhaps known only to a few individuals or to God alone? Are there relational wounds you have suffered or inflicted this past year that are in desperate need of treatment and attention? If you feel a weight and burden upon your conscience as you read these words, are you able to stop long enough to give that weight a name and identify the root cause and source?
Our Lord invites us into a new year defined by sincerity of faith, yet this requires the inner work of repentance and renewal. Difficult as it undoubtedly will be, take the time to prepare the soil of your life for the seeds of hope that the Lord longs to plant deep within your heart and soul. Look back, trusting that his grace and mercy will lead you forward in faith and filled with hope.
Father, thank you for the gift of forgiveness that heals our wounds and invites us into new seasons of life. As we enter this new year, may we encounter your love in previously unknown ways, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Before January 1st, take time to intentionally reflect upon the consolation and desolation you encountered in the past year, and do what is within your power to take steps towards a pure heart and good conscience.
Taylor Leonhardt: Behold
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