Our modern mapping technology is quite amazing regarding what it can do for us. We put in a destination and we receive turn-by-turn instructions, estimated time of arrival, notice of hazards or traffic that may arise in the path ahead, and even suggestions for alternative routes. With our focus on where we are heading, it becomes easy to lose sight of the fact that none of the technology matters if we don’t first have a very accurate understanding of where we are. Without being able to enter in a starting point or using GPS to constantly update our precise location, Google Maps or Waze can’t tell you what roads you need to take. Those programs must understand where we are if they are to chart a course to where we want to be.
With the onset of a new year, many people are making resolutions and looking at the year ahead with a mind towards where they would like to be. We are hoping for this next year to be so much better than the year that we have just survived. In our minds, almost all of us have selected a picture of the upcoming months that is much rosier than the pain and turmoil of 2020. In short, we have fixed our eyes on a destination. Yet as with the mapping technology, we need to know where we stand at this moment if we are to have any reasonable expectation of fulfilling our resolutions or reaching our goals. Have we truly taken stock of where we are right now, so that an accurate map can be created?
If we want to lose 15 pounds, we need to know what we weigh today and have an accurate understanding of the habits that we need to change so that we stop the weight gain and begin to lose the pounds. If we want to see less division, we need to understand what we have been doing to contribute to the division and then seek to change that behavior. If we want to be more loving of our neighbors, we need to be aware of where and why we have fallen short of that goal in the past, and pray for God’s help in overcoming those barriers that have gotten in the way of loving others.
Just as no one can expect to reach God’s heavenly kingdom without first accurately assessing that they are a sinner in need of God’s grace, we cannot expect to have a better 2021 without first acknowledging certain unflattering things about where our lives are today at the end of 2020. Yet if we have that understanding, we can chart a course towards our desired destination in such a way as to be able to navigate whatever hazards and traffic may appear along the journey. And, by the way, I have found that God’s Word serves as a fantastic road map.
Peace to you all, and prayers for a blessed new year – Pastor Aaron